Jeremy Lin led the Beijing Ducks to a smooth victory over the Tianjin Pioneers (103-81) in his Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) debut on Sunday night.
The 31-year-old, who was also named the game’s MVP, scored the highest with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds in his 35 minutes of play, which also earned him a bloody knee.
Tianjin set a 32-24 lead in the second quarter before “Linsanity” took over with 14 points in the third, helping to build a 78-64 lead before Beijing opened the fourth with a 12-2 run, Xinhua noted.
Other notable Beijing players include Zhu Yanxi, who contributed 19 points, nine rebounds and two steals, as well as Fang Shuo, who netted 18 points, two rebounds, two steals, and three assists.
— Popo Chung (@PopoChung7) November 3, 2019
Lin signed with Beijing after winning the NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors last season. Ahead of Sunday’s season opener, he announced that he would contribute 3,000 yuan ($426) to charity for every three-pointer he makes this season, the South China Morning Post reported.
“First CBA game, first real game in front of Chinese fans, first win!” Lin wrote in an Instagram post. “TBH dealt with some pregame anxiety that I hadn’t felt in years, but just very grateful to God for meeting me where I was at, for my health to play the game and for the opportunity to live out my dream job as a hooper.”
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First CBA game, first real game in front of Chinese fans, first win!! Tbh dealt with some pregame anxiety that I hadnt felt in years, but just very grateful to God for meeting me where I was at, for my health to play the game and for the opportunity to live out my dream job as a hooper. My hearts truly full right now. S/o all the Beijing fans who made our away game feel like a home game. And i just had to post the last photo of the cutest kid who got my game worn @xtepofficial kicks! Cant wait to gift more out after every game #Godspath #lovemyfans #ignoremybloodyknee
Lin was reportedly offered $3 million to join Beijing, which won three CBA titles between 2012 and 2015 but failed to make the semifinals last season after finishing fifth in the overall standings, according to RADII.
In an interview with the outlet, the Taiwanese American player expressed a strong affinity for his mother’s home city of Pinghu in Zhejiang province, saying “When I go there, I feel the most at home.”
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All I can say is THANK YOU to the NBA, my family, inner circle, every fan who came to watch or rooted for me during these last 9 years! To challenge stereotypes, make history, rep Asians at the NBA level and pave the path as others have done for me has been an absolute privilege. Im overwhelmed with gratitude for each person who has been with me each step of the way. Equally excited for this next step with the Beijing Ducks! I always knew my path would go through the CBA solely bc I knew how much of an honor it would be to hoop in front of all my Chinese fans. Im here now and there is more history to be made! Also congrats to @joe_linstagram on a contract extension fresh off a championship with the @fubon_braves … you’re a beast and to be able to sign our contracts on the same day is something Ill forever cherish. Love you lil bro! #linstanation #farfromdone #glorytoGod
Lin also said that he is “always thinking about” naturalizing to Chinese citizenship. However, it was noted that he did not sing the Chinese national anthem, “March of the Volunteers,” before the game on Sunday.
It’s unclear whether Lin plans to retire with the CBA or hopes to use it as a springboard back to the NBA. He told reporters, “I am really glad to have this opportunity to play in CBA, I am so satisfied right now.”
Lin returns to the home court on Wednesday as Beijing faces the Shandong Heroes at the Cadillac Arena.
Featured Images via Instagram / @jlin7