China loves the NBA. And Harvard. And Chinese people. So it’s no surprise that Jeremy Lin (林书豪, Lín Shūháo) is as huge here as he is in the US. The Knicks’ breakout star is ranked number one on Baidu’s list of search items for this past week, skyrocketing from around 1,000 hits on February 3rd to over 700,000 following his career high performance on February 4th against the Nets.
The explosion of English press makes it unnecessary to rehash the details of his rags-to-riches (bench-to-baller?) rise, but it’s safe to say that “Linsanity” is equally prevalent in Chinese media. Articles are documenting each stage of his ascendance, and fan forums are abuzz with commentary on his playing, his heritage…and his height.
A picture of Lin flanked by his parents with the comment “His dad is only 1.67m, how is he so tall?!?!” kicked off a ridiculously long discussion thread with several people offering an answer: “Genetic mutation”; “He ate steak”; “Lin says it was God’s plan.” Others underscore the contrasting conditions of American and Chinese life, positing that his stature is related to a lack of food scandals in the US. Amidst these musings, there is also, perhaps inevitably, a height-related innuendo accompanied by a wink emoticon.
Although Lin jerseys aren’t yet a staple of the Chinese black market, it seems it will only be a matter of time. Check out his Baidu Encyclopedia page here, and click here for the Beat’s guide to following the NBA in China.
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