Jeremy Lin

Macau gets a miniature dose of ‘Linsanity’ as Joseph Lin stars at Super 8 basketball tournament

Fubon Braves star, the younger brother of NBA star Jeremy Lin, is looking to make his own mark in Asia

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 10:11am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 10:12am

Studio City Macau launched a new Asian basketball tournament, the Super 8, with the usual fanfare on Wednesday.

Once all the formalities were out of the way, all eyes were glued to one man: Fubon Braves star Joseph Lin – better known as the brother of NBA star Jeremy Lin.

“He knows that we’re playing,” Lin politely answered when asked if Jeremy, 29, had offered him any advice on playing Chinese teams.

The elder Lin, who played in the 2011 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) off-season, spawned a global craze known as “Linsanity” in 2012 when he sparked a seven-game winning streak and helped guide the New York Knicks to their first play-off victory since 2001.

Having struggled for minutes, Jeremy Lin received a shock promotion to the starting line-up late in the season and began scoring more than 20 points a game, landing magazine covers on Sports Illustrated and Time.

And Macau got its own miniature dose of “Linsanity” as the 25-year-old Joseph Lin was mobbed by the media.

The conversation was again steered towards his more recognised sibling. It is a topic he is no doubt asked about a lot, but to his credit, he answered with a smile in his usual soft-spoken manner.

“I used to feel the pressure [from the added attention] when I first started playing in Taiwan,” said Joseph, an American of Taiwanese descent.

“But not any more. I just take it for what it is and try not to let it affect me. I just keep playing hard on the court.”

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Joseph has his big brother to thank for his Taiwan basketball break. The elder Lin – now at the Brooklyn Nets – created an annual Asia Tour in the off-season after his heroics with the Knicks, with Joseph joining him in 2014 while studying at Hamilton College in New York.

His performances caught the eye of the Braves and he put potential careers in graphic design and professional gaming aside to sign for the semi-professional outfit soon after graduating in 2015.

He went on to win the Taiwan Super Basketball League’s (SBL) Rookie of the Year award.

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Despite only entering the SBL in 2014, such has been their impact that the Braves were invited as one of eight East Asian teams for the inaugural Super 8 tournament. And Lin is on a mission.

“Taiwan players want to perform well and compete with the CBA teams,” he said. “I can only speak for us, but Taiwan basketball is very fast. I hope we can grab some wins.

“I’m very excited and I know there are a lot of skilful players in these teams. We played in Malaysia a week ago, but playing [South] Korean and Japanese teams is a first.”

The Braves’ opening match against Korea’s Samsung Thunders ended in a 93-79 loss, but Lin was second overall in assists (six) out of the eight teams on the opening day.

“We played OK. We let them have too many fast break points,” said Lin. “I don’t think I played well and I was not enjoying losing. There’s more to come.”

To say Linsanity 2.0 is on the way would be an exaggeration, but Joseph Lin was certainly the main attraction in Macau and his star is on the rise.