Jeremy Lin, the Ivy League graduate known for “Linsanity” that energized America when he played for the New York Knicks back in 2012, is taking his basketball talents to China.
The 6′-3″ Christian athlete has signed a contract to play with the Beijing Shougang Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association this season. Lin and the team announced their new partnership on Tuesday.
“Thanks to the NBA and everyone who’s supported me the last 9 years!” he tweeted. “Will always cherish being able to rep Asians at the NBA level. Excited for the next step with the Beijing Ducks. Excited to make more history.”
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After leaving the Toronto Raptors and becoming a free agent, Lin said he had hit rock bottom.
Lin, 31, made the remark at a motivational speech in Taiwan titled “The Waiting Game.”
“In English, there’s a saying and it says once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up,” an emotional Lin said while giving a speech carried by Christian media outlet GOOD TV. “But rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. So, free agency has been tough. Because I feel like in some ways the NBA’s kind of given up on me.”
Lin was traded to the Raptors from Atlanta last season, and he hasn’t generated much interest in the league since his contract expired.
“After the season I had to get ready for this Asia trip and it was the last thing I wanted to do,” Lin said. “Because I knew for six weeks I would have to just put on a smile. I would have to talk about a championship that I don’t feel like I really earned. I would have to talk about a basketball future I don’t know if I want to have. And honestly, it’s just embarrassing. It’s tough.”
Lin played with eight teams over the last nine seasons. He has struggled to recreate the “Linsanity” he added to the New York Knicks seven years ago.
“I’m here to just tell you don’t give up,” Lin said during his speech. “For those of you who are working hard but you don’t see results – don’t give up.”
Lin leaves North American basketball with a career average of 11.6 points and 4.3 assists per game, according to the website NBA Stats.
–Metro Voice and wires