Jeremy Lin inspires Asian-Aussie basketballers

The global buzz around New York Knicks’ star Jeremy Lin has been dubbed “Lin-Sanity”, with the unassuming Harvard graduate this week named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people for 2012.

南宁桑拿

“From a NBA perspective, which is obviously something we all follow, you didn’t hear anything else but Jeremy, so obviously he’s highly influential,” says Boon Tan, CEO of the Australia Chinese Basketball Association.

Lin’s fame has also boosted interest in Australia’s National Basketball League, said Aaron Flanagan, the NBL’s sales and marketing manager.

“The media coverage that Jeremy Lin has created here in Australia has been fantastic. It makes sense that, that is going to… have a positive impact on the amount of Chinese basketballers who want to play in our competition,” he said.

Lin is also changing the way Asians perceive basketball, and their abilities.

“The Asian physique isn’t that outstanding compared to westerners but after Jeremy Lin proved himself, everyone feels that if we have a dream, with basketball in our hands, we can be the same as everyone else,” says basketballer Michael Zhang.

But following one’s dream isn’t always easy in the Asian culture, which tends to value academic success over sporting achievements.

“If you’ve got your head in the books you’re not out there shooting at the basket and getting your shot developed. Personally, I think there needs to be a balance and Jeremy Lin has shown that. He went to Harvard, for goodness sake,” said Mr Tan.

For young basketball enthusiasts, the weekly Australian Chinese Basketball Association tournament is like their own NBA competition. It’s also a stage where they can showcase their skills.

But to reach that next level, players need to change their mindset, says basketballer Billy Wang. He says Asian often have the capability, but don’t dare go full out and often shy away from dunking.

“Whereas the Caucasians, when I play with them, no matter how short they are, the more [they dunk] the stronger they become,” Mr Wang said.

The CEO of Australia’s largest Chinese basketball association believes the NBL can utilise “Lin-sanity” to boost its domestic following.

The NBL though is also eyeing the world’s largest basketball fan base – China – where an estimated 300 million people play the sport.

Mr Flanagan said there had been talk about establishing a champions’ trophy concept, where the top two Chinese Basketball Association teams take on the best from the NBL.

As for Jeremy Lin, a partial meniscus tear in his left knee may see him out for the remainder of the NBA season, but there’s little doubt his popularity will remain a source of motivation for local basketball enthusiasts.

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