New York, April 24 (CNA) New York Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin and world No. 1 female golfer Yani Tseng met for the first time Tuesday at a star-studded bash hosted by Time to honor the world's most influential people selected by the magazine for 2012.
Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, and Tseng of Taiwan both made this year's "Time 100" list of the most influential figures in the world for their athletic achievements and good work ethics.
The duo walked the red carpet in succession by coincidence at the TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York City. They happily shook hands, exchanged greetings and posed for photo ops. They are the only two of this year's honorees with Taiwanese roots.
Lin, who earned his spot on Time's list with his breakout season that saw him score more points in his first five starts than any other player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, was seated with fellow honorees U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
"I feel like it's a real blessing from God," the 23-year-old Harvard economics graduate said of his selection as a Time honoree. "I'mdeeply humbled and honored."
During the dinner, Lin might have missed a shot while sitting with Dolan, according to a New York Daily News report.
"I asked Jeremy to pass me a piece of bread and it's still floating around here somewhere," joked Dolan, head of the Archdiocese of New York who was elevated to the position of cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in February.
In response, Lin said he would make maximum efforts to pass the bread to the popular and affable cardinal.
"I'll work on getting it to him," said Lin, who underwent surgery April 2 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.
In brief talks with reporters prior to the dinner, Lin said he has begun running as part of his post-surgery rehabilitation.
"The situation is getting better," Lin said. As to when he will return to the court, he said that will depend on how far the Knicks get in the playoffs. The Knicks, which have clinched a playoff berth, will need to advance to the second round in order for Lin to come back under his rehab timetable, sports pundits have said.
Tseng, who flew to New York to attend the gala right after concluding the LPGA LOTTE Championship in Honolulu in which she tied for 10th place with a 4-under total of 284, said she felt honored to attend the Time festivities along with the eclectic mix of celebrities.
"It's a big honor to be one of TIME 100," Tseng said, adding that it was great fun to meet so many influential and cool people.
"This is just amazing and hopefully I can come back again next year," Tseng said, adding that she looks forward to being able to reach out to more people and help those in need through the magazine's accolade.
Tseng, 23, already had five LPGA majors under her belt and has won three LPGA titles so far this season. She sustained a leg injury during the just-concluded Hawaii tournament, but said she has almost fully recovered after treatment.
The top-ranked golfer said she will soon return to Taiwan to get some rest before starting preparations for her next tournament.
Asked about her view on MLB Nationals Taiwanese pitcher Chien-Ming Wang's recent revelation of an extramarital affair, Tseng said professional athletes tend to face enormous pressure.
"I believe that Wang, given time and room, will prove his worth with good performance on the mound," said Tseng, a self-confessed fan of Wang.
Pop diva Rihanna and many other stars performed at the gala, which also featured a keynote speech by Clinton.
Those who make up the 2012 list include breakouts, pioneers, moguls, leaders and icons who "inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world," according to Time Magazine.
(By Leaf Chiang and Sofia Wu)