In the past year, Chinese NBA fans have been gripped by "Linsanity," as Chinese-American star Jeremy Lin has taken his place in the NBA firmament. He has close to 3 million "followers" on his Weibo account (@JeremyLin). Not surprisingly, he has been especially popular among Chinese Christians because he is outspoken about his faith in Christ.
In the 1990's Michael Jordan was the most popular NBA player in China. You couldn't walk down a street without seeing someone wearing a Michael Jordan (or Chicago Bulls) t-shirt or cap.
In the 2000s Chinese player Yao Ming was, of course, the favorite of China's basketball fans.
In the past year, Chinese NBA fans have been gripped by "Linsanity," as Chinese-American star Jeremy Lin has taken his place in the NBA firmament. He has close to 3 million "followers" on his Weibo account (@JeremyLin).
Not surprisingly, he has been especially popular among Chinese Christians because he is outspoken about his faith in Christ. When he initially burst onto the scene last year, local Chinese media either did not mention his faith, or referenced it in passing. However, in early September a report on Sina, one of China's largest on-line news portals ran a story specifically about Jeremy Lin's faith titled "In Recalling the Hardships of his Rookie Year, Jeremy Lin said: In Every Game I Tried to Play Hard for God." This article, from The Christian Times, reports on the Sina article.
Jeremy Lin's "Miracle Night" evangelistic rally was not only a sensational event across all of Taiwan, but in the Mainland, news of the event has also been reported online by the Chinese media outlet Sina. In the headline, they clearly state that Lin's faith is amazing and that "in every game he tried to play his hardest for God."
According to Sina Sports, during his visit to Taiwan, Lin recounted the difficulties of his first year in the NBA and how as a committed Christian he strived to play each game for God.
The Sina Sports report also readily admitted, "As everyone knows Jeremy Lin is a devout Christian. Last Sunday he shared his personal story with his Taiwanese fans, including how God has influenced his life."
During Lin's recent nine-day visit to Taiwan, he attended an unprecedented evangelistic rally dubbed "Jeremy Lin's Miracle Night." Last year while visiting Taiwan Lin organized a similar rally. However, this years event saw a dramatic increase in attendance and attracted much more publicity given the rise of Linsanity over the past year. In addition to the more than 7,000 packed into Taiwan's Xinzhuang arena, close to 2,000 gathered outside at the Xinzhuang track and field area to watch the event live via a large video screen that had been set up for the rally.
During the rally, Lin described how God has helped him and how God enabled him to go from a bench player for the Knicks to a worldwide superstar. He admitted that his first year in the NBA was painful and that setbacks left him on the verge of depression. At one point he even doubted if he wanted to remain in the NBA. Following the February game in which he became an overnight sensation, however, Lin says he understood "why I was still in the NBA." Twenty-four year old Lin says, "Every game I try to play my hardest for God."
Through the courageous, public display of his Christian faith, Jeremy Lin has enabled more Chinese to see the importance of faith in a person's life. May God be pleased to raise up more individuals like Jeremy Lin who are willing to testify boldly to the marvelous works of our Lord.
Image source: by Michael Saechang, via Flickr
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.