Palo Alto's Jeremy Lin isn't wasting any time getting his NBA career under way, even if it's as a goodwill ambassador. Lin was in Taipei, Taiwan on Wednesday competing in a charity basketball game organized by Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets.
The 48-minute game, organized by the Yao Foundation as a part of a charity tour in Taiwan, was played between two teams composed of active NBA players and players from China and Taiwan. All proceeds will be donated to local charities.
Lin, the Palo Alto High graduate who signed a two-year contract with the Golden State Warriors last week, drew a standing ovation when he took the court with 6:45 to go in the first quarter.
Lin, 21, flew to Taiwan early Wednesday for a whirlwind two-day visit after he received a phone call from Yao.
"I was surprised and excited to receive the invitation," Lin told Focus Taiwan. A point guard, Lin will become the first Harvard graduate to play in the NBA in 57 years if he makes the Warriors' final roster.
With his parents Shirley and Gie-ming, who emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in 1971, and brothers (Josh and Joseph) watching on the sidelines, Lin finished the game with 17 points -- according to reports by Chris Wang of Focus Taiwan.
Team Love, which consisted of NBA players, matched up against Team Heart, which was made up of players from the Shanghai Sharks and an All-Star team in the local Super Basketball League. The Sharks played in the first and the final quarter, while the SBL All-Stars took the court for the final two periods.
The NBA team included active NBA players Lin, Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, Hasheem Thabeet of the Memphis Grizzlies, DaJuan Summers of the Detroit Pistons, Amir Johnson of the Toronto Raptors, Luke Babbit of the Portland Trail Blazers and a pair of Yao's Houston teammates, Aaron Brooks and Chase Budinger.
NBA China CEO Tim Chen told Focus Taiwan that he and Yao Ming had been in touch with Lin for a few days before finalizing arrangements on Monday.
Aside from playing in Wednesday's charity game, Lin is also scheduled to coach young players at a basketball camp at Nanshan High School in the Taipei suburb of Jhonghe on Thursday, Chen confirmed.
Lin, who reported that he has not visited Taiwan for more than seven years, said he has many fond memories of Taiwan. Both of his parents hail from central Taiwan's Changhua County. Lin and his parents met with their relatives in Taiwan. The Lin family also met with Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, according to TaiwanHoops.com.
Lin told Focus Taiwan that he vowed to continue working hard to improve his skills and athleticism in pursuit of his immediate goal to become the Warriors' starting point guard. Down the road, he said, he hopes to win an NBA championship.