P. LEAGUE+ & T1 LEAGUE/Jeremy Lin playing in Taiwan will boost P. LEAGUE+: Steelers GM
Taipei, Jan. 29 (CNA) Former NBA star Jeremy Lin joining the Kaohsiung 17LIVE Steelers in Taiwan's professional P. LEAGUE+ will not only boost the club, but also the whole league, Steelers General Manager Kenny Kao (高景炎) told CNA Sunday.
"I can tell he is very compassionate, he is very aware, he's very motivated to help. So, him coming to the south means a lot to the ball club, it means a lot to the development of professional basketball in Taiwan in general," Kao said.
Lin announced on social media on Saturday that he expects to arrive in Taiwan next week to meet his new teammates and work to fit into the Steeler's system.
The Steelers are the only team in the six-team P. LEAGUE+ from southern Taiwan, Kao noted.
"It's very difficult to manage that kind of situation, for example the costs are more when travelling for away games and it's also harder to get players to commit to come to the south," Kao said.
Lin was able to understand and showed his willingness to help to try and balance the situation, Kao said.
"I think he sees it and he really knows that this could be a big thing for the development (of Taiwan basketball)," Kao said.
It's about trying to get that basic respect every day, on and off the court, so I definitely see the struggle and I shared the same kind of experience walking into the gym and nobody knowing who you are and you have to prove yourself a little more than everybody else
In an interview with CNA last year, Kao said at the time that he was trying to enlist Lin, but faced competition from other clubs, especially those in northern Taiwan, but now he thinks its "great" Lin is coming to Kaohsiung.
"For someone like Jeremy, this kind of player to decide to join our team will really create a lot more awareness and commercial value and further help the (southern) team develop into a bigger club," Kao said.
Lin gained a huge following in Taiwan after he took the basketball scene by storm over a decade ago, and while that backing has moderated in recent years, he would likely still be a big hit with any Taiwanese club, given how many fans support him on his social media accounts.
Lin became the first American of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA in 2010-2011 and shot to fame in 2012 with the New York Knicks.
The ensuing "Linsanity" craze started when Lin dropped 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers during an electrifying home win at Madison Square Garden.
The cultural phenomenon inspired the "38 at the Garden" short documentary, which portrayed Lin's hard work to succeed in the context of the Asian American experience.
Kao, who also played college, high school and junior high basketball in the United States, said he can empathize with Lin's story as trying to achieve any degree of success in basketball in the U.S. as a minority or as an Asian American is very difficult.
"It's about trying to get that basic respect every day, on and off the court, so I definitely see the struggle and I shared the same kind of experience walking into the gym and nobody knowing who you are and you have to prove yourself a little more than everybody else," Kao said.
"For that reason I really admire his courage and his achievements, in fact it's beyond admiration."
(By William Yen)
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