You think Linsanity is big in America? Look East.
Jeremy Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Asian heritage, is getting rock star level attention among Chinese basketball fans. The New York Knicks sudden star has seen his Twitter (@jLin7) following explode to more than 200,000 as of Monday morning, but that doesn't tell half the story.
Lin has picked up nearly 850,000 followers on a Chinese version of Twitter known as the Weibo microblog, according to Agence France-Presse. That's impressive, but his followers on China Tencent and Sina microblogs are more than 1.5 million, with more than three-quarters of them coming since Lin dropped 38 points on Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers.
China's state television CCTV has changed its NBA broadcast schedule to include more Knicks games this week.
Although NBA commissioner David Stern is appreciative of Lin's popularity, he's not ready to compare the Knicks sensation to Yao Ming. "I don’t think another Chinese NBA star as influential as Yao Ming will appear," Stern told Chinese media, according to the Jakarta Globe.
So how did the latest superstar in sports spend his off day on Sunday? Lin traveled to upstate New York with his parents to watch his younger brother play for Hamilton College. Joseph Lin is a backup point guard at the small school in Clinton, N.Y. The Knicks guard sat with his parents and older brother behind Hamilton's bench. The New York Daily News reports he was surrounded by campus security guards and was accompanied by the school's president.
Joseph Lin played 14 minutes and scored four points for the Continentals.
Jeremy Lin Fun Facts
• Jeremy Lin's No. 17 jersey is the NBA's top online seller since February 4.
• Knicks merchandise sales are No.1 overall in the NBA since Lin's breakthrough game.
• Five of the NBA's 10 most popular items are Knicks-related since Linsanity began.
• Lin's Chinese Wikipedia-style page (Baike) has picked up 3.5 million hits.
• Microblog hashtag ‘Lin Shuhao Craze Continues' using Jeremy Lin's Chinese name, has generated 73,500 messages.
• Modell's Sporting Goods Inc. in Midtown Manhattan can't keep Lin gear on shelves; they went through multiple shipments of jerseys and T-shirts just this weekend.
• The Knicks have taken advantage of Linsanity, raising average ticket prices by 27 percent since Lin scored 25 points off the bench against New Jersey.
• Knicks upcoming road opponent Toronto has a huge price differential to see Lin play (cheap seat: $44,00) as opposed to an upcoming game with the Spurs (cheap seat: $12.50)
• Madison Square Garden stock has gone up 6.2 percent to $31.25 since the day before Lin started the Knicks on their five game winning streak.
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