TAIPEI (AFP) — Former NBA star Jeremy Lin announced Thursday, Jan. 26, he will join a professional basketball team in southern Taiwan, a decade after the "Linsanity" craze won him legions of fans in a place where he has family ties.
Lin, born in the United States to Taiwanese immigrant parents, became the first Asian-American to win an NBA title, as part of the Toronto Raptors team that won the championship in 2019.
The 34-year-old had also played for the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), most recently with the Guangzhou Loong Lions in southern China.
Lin announced on his Facebook page Thursday that he would join Taiwanese team Kaohsiung 17Live Steelers, in a post reading, "KaoHsiung, here I come!"
"From the NBA, CBA and back to Taiwan, that man has become a big event in domestic basketball this year... 'Linsanity' is no longer far away," the Steelers said in a Facebook post, calling him "the strongest boost" to their team.
The post did not say when Lin would make his debut.
The Steelers is part of Taiwan's P.League+, which was established in 2020.
Lin has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since he sparked "Linsanity" while playing for the New York Knicks in 2012 when he led them to a seven-game win streak to level their record at 15-15.
That season elevated his stardom far beyond the United States to Asia, where basketball has a huge following even though there has long been a shortage of Asian NBA players.
His popularity also triggered a war of words between Taiwan and China in 2012, with both keen to lay claim to being Lin's ancestral homeland.
Beijing claims self-ruled democratic Taiwan as part of its territory to be taken one day, by force if necessary.
The Harvard graduate point guard started his professional career in 2010 with his hometown Golden State Warriors.
He had played for multiple teams during his NBA days, including the Knicks, the Houston Rockets, the L.A. Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets.