Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Visiting NBA star Jeremy Lin greeted his Taiwanese fans in Mandarin Saturday, expressing his gratitude for the passion shown by local fans.
"Thank you all for coming to see me," Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, said to nearly 1,000 fans in the Ximenting area of Taipei.
"I love the energy in Taiwan," he said with a big smile, which was followed by screaming, whistling and yelling from the crowd.
Hours ahead of a sponsors event scheduled for that evening, the venue was packed with fans of all ages, some of whom had arrived at around noon.
When the 23-year-old point guard arrived, the crowd went crazy, cheering and screaming "Jeremy" or "Lin Shu-hao" (his Chinese name). Some were so overcome with emotion that they even fainted.
Among the fans were Mimi Teng and Terry Fang, who had made a placard reading "I love Jeremy Lin."
"Jeremy Lin is so handsome and charming," Teng said, adding that she has been following Lin since he was a member of the Golden State Warriors.
During the fan meet, Lin granted some wishes from lucky fans, including hugging, giving out autographed basketballs and shoes or doing his signature "nerdy" handshake with the fans.
The handshake, made famous by Lin and fellow NBA player Landry Fields, is described as "nerdy" because of the educational backgrounds of the two -- Lin graduated from Harvard, Fields from Stanford.
It is Lin's first visit to Taiwan since his meteoric rise from obscurity with the New York Knicks earlier this year and his recent signing of a three-year, US$25 million contract to play for the Houston Rockets.
He was scheduled to attend a news conference in Taipei's upscale Hsinyi District the following day.
After his Taiwan visit, Lin will fly to China for a basketball camp. He will return to Taiwan in late August to host a similar camp for a group of 120 young players Aug. 27-30.
He will also attend an evangelical gathering hosted by a local television station Sept. 2.
(By James Lee)