Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jeremy Lin and Dwight Howard Busy in Asia

By Asia Pop Culture

Although it is now NBA off season, quite a few Houston Rockets players are currently in Asia on various public engagements.

Jeremy Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, is currently in Beijing to oversee a basketball camp after an 8-day stay in Taiwan.  Lin and another Rocket, Chandler Parsons, hosted a three-day basketball camp in Taipei.

Speaking at a youth conference to an audience of 20,000 in Taipei, Taiwan on Aug. 18, Jeremy recounted how he internalized the pressure of trying to be Linsanity during his lower-than-expectation first season with the Rockets.  He said,
"The coaches were losing faith in me; basketball fans were making fun of me. ... I was supposed to be joyful and free, but what I experienced was the opposite. I had no joy, and I felt no freedom." 
Lin's speech is available on Youtube (starting at 1:06:20).  His mandarin is not bad, but he opted to deliver the entire speech in English with an interpreter by his side.

Despite his struggle, Lin has become the 'Chinese marketing juggernaut' with his face on numerous brands in China and Taiwan, including Nike, Gatorade, Volvo and KFC after the Linsanity in New York a year ago.  Since then, China and Taiwan have become Lin's regular off-season home with those brands capitalizing on Lin's monster popularity in the region.  From Brand Channel,
Graphic Source: Brand Channel
"Asia can't get enough of [Jeremy Lin]. While in Beijing, he'll likely see his image plastered on Gatorade bottles and billboards. If he swings by one of the counterfeit markets, he'll likely find plenty of both his Knicks and Rockets jerseys,....KFC... is currently featuring a series of Jeremy Lin figurines, one of which features Lin donning glasses and hunched over an open book."
As Brand Channel pointed out, Lin's combined pedigree of Chinese/Taiwanese and Harvard, one of the most admired western universities among Chinese Tiger Moms, all adds up to Lin being "a type of marketing gift that not even the best agency could cook up."

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard, the former LA Laker who was signed by the Rockets in the offseason as a free agent, is also in Asia to promote his new signature shoe by Adidas-- 'D Howard 4'.  He was in Seoul on Aug. 18 on the first leg.  His second stop was Taiwan making it Howard's third visit to the island.  He also helped unveil the new Adidas 101 basketball park just across from Taipei 101, one of the world's tallest skyscrapers.  Howard's now in China and scheduled to visit three Chinese cities -- Hangzhou, Chengdu and Beijing.

Lin told reporters in Beijing that he's ready to play with Howard and sees pick-and-roll potential. However, CBS Sports commented,
"Let's be clear on this.  Howard wants to play with Harden. That's what brought him to Houston, along with Chandler Parsons and Kevin McHale. So Lin isn't going to get the same kind of embrace from Howard..... It's also the biggest key to the Rockets' success, and since Lin wasn't traded this summer, this is going to be a major plot point of Houston's first season with the big guy."     
So we will see how Lin and Howard could play together and with the rest of the Rockets.  Finally, we leave you with a 2012 video of Jeremy Lin and David Lee (Golden State Warriors) sneaking out of their hotel rooms at night to hoop with Taipei locals.  This vid has got close to 1.6 million hits on Youtube so far.