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The true origin of Lin's love of basketball -- his grandmother

2012/02/15 16:39:59

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Taiwanese-American basketball star Jeremy Lin, whose recent exploits for the New York Knicks have captivated fans around the world, may have gotten his start in the sport through an unlikely teacher -- his grandmother.

Lin himself has attributed his interest in basketball to his father, himself an NBA fan who encouraged his three sons to play the sport as a hobby and exercise after they finished studying.

But according to Lin Heng-cheng, a cousin of the NBA star's father, said the Knicks star actually got his first taste of the sport while playing with his grandmother in California.

Lin's paternal grandmother moved to the U.S. to help take care of Lin shortly after he was born and lived with his family until he turned three, said the relative, who lives in Changhua County in central Taiwan.

The Harvard graduate enjoyed playing basketball even from a young age and often played on the community court with her, according to his grandmother, who now lives in Taipei, the relative said.

As a result, Lin remains closest to his grandmother among all of her grandchildren, and he visits her in Taipei every time he returns to Taiwan, the relative added.

Lin added to his legend in Toronto Tuesday night when he hit a three-pointer with half a second left to give the Knicks a come-from-behind 90-87 victory over the Raptors.

It was the Knicks' sixth straight victory after an 8-15 start. Lin, who sparked the team's first victory in the streak from the bench, has started the five games since and played key roles in all of the wins.

His family in Taiwan all have confidence in him and believe he will continue to help the team win, said his aunt Sung Shu-tzu.

The rising talent, who had played little in the first year-plus of his NBA career, confounded the basketball world by leading the injury-riddled Knicks to five straight victories between Feb. 4 and Feb. 11.

His underdog image and battling style have endeared him to fans not only in New York but around the United States and the world, including Taiwan.

(By Wu Jhe-hao and Kendra Lin)