We depart from political coverage and renew our annual series on the extraordinary career of global basketball icon Jeremy Lin. The links to the other articles in this series are provided at the end of this installment. If you like the series, please share any or all of articles with others on social media.
The first article in this series, published in 2015, was titled “The Strange and Badly Misunderstood Career of Jeremy Lin.” It covered the amazing highs and lows that had characterized this totally unique basketball player's career up to that time, when he was subbing for the immortal Ronnie Price on a terrible Laker team.
Little did I know.
At that point, the twists and turns he had experienced were indeed impressive. Being overlooked and undrafted coming out of Harvard; the stints in the G-League and subsequent cuts by the Warriors and then the Rockets; catching on with the Knicks and finally getting a shot due to injuries to four other point guards; the Linsanity madness; the free agent snub by the Knicks, the new home with the Rockets as the face of the franchise -- until the weeks-later signing of James Harden; the benching for Pat Beverly; the trade to the Lakers; the disastrous coaching of Byron Scott. All were mini-sagas in and of themselves, and together created more than a lifetime's worth of drama – all experienced by a young man who had just turned 25.
But the dramas that have occurred since are worthy of Odysseus. The rebirth with the Hornets; the promise and the pain of his time with the Nets, the year off recovering and retooling in obscurity, the comeback with the Hawks, the championship, tinged with disappointment, with the Raptors, and his revival in the China Basketball Association, were all covered in subsequent articles.
And now we come to this past year, perhaps the strangest and most wildly divergent of them all, a year in which, for a variety of reasons, basketball took a backseat. Never was there a year when Lin was more irrelevant on the basketball court – completing the COVID-suspended CBA season in the summer of 2020, and then, in 2021, toiling for a mere 9 games in the NBA’s G-League in a quixotic effort to return to the NBA – or more relevant off it, when he achieved global acclaim yet again, this time by embracing his status as a spokesperson for Asian-Americans in the wake of racist and violent acts against the AAPI community, a consequence of the COVID pandemic. Once again it was a year replete with even more extraordinary highs and the lowest of lows.
THE CBA RESUMES PLAY, JUNE 2020
We left off our story last year, in June, 2020, with the CBA about to begin its final stretch. Play had been suspended in late January with the advent of the coronavirus, which ultimately shut down virtually all professional and amateur sports around the globe. The CBA eventually resumed on June 20 for 16 more games, to go with the 30 they had played before the stoppage. The Ducks entered the resumption in fine shape, with a 19-11 record, and Lin had played exceptionally well as their undisputed leader. Lin excelled from the start, and kept up a strong pace through the first 30 games, putting together a very strong shooting slash line of 48/36/83, averaging 24 points per game along with six assists, six rebounds, two steals and, so typically for Lin (and other high “usage” types), nearly four turnovers per game.
And so we pick up in the “second half” of the CBA season, the rump season held in June and July. The Ducks picked up right where they left off, ultimately winning 13 out of the 16 games to finish with a sterling 32-14 record, good enough for a tie for third among the 20 CBA franchises. In the second section of the strange season, Lin played a bit less, averaging 29 minutes per game versus 34 in the first part, as he eased back into play, nursed a minor knee injury and shared minutes with his foreign teammates per CBA rules (which were more restrictive for foreign players under new rules following the stoppage). He even sat out a game for “load management” purposes.
But despite the slightly reduced minutes, he was as productive as ever. In the Ducks’ third game back, right after the knee issue, Lin scored 22 in just 21 minutes versus Shenzhen. Soon after he popped for 26 against the Shanghai Sharks in a game that began an 11-game Duck winning streak. The streak included back-to-back games in which Lin dropped in 29 points, and culminated with a 34-point explosion versus the crosstown rival Beijing Royal Fighters in the penultimate game of the regular season.
Two days later, in the season-ender, the Ducks served notice to the league’s best team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, losing by a single point to a team that finished the regular season with an astonishing 44-2 record. The message was clear: the Ducks were not going to lay down in the playoffs to the reigning champs.
The CBA playoffs began as the calendar turned to August. The Ducks matched up first against the Fujian Sturgeons in the quarterfinals (Fujian survived a preliminary round, in which the Ducks had a bye), whom they handled easily, 107-75, with Lin leading the way with 26 points.
This set up the semifinals with Guangdong, a best two out of three affair with the Ducks who, despite the closeness of the regular season finale, were the decided underdogs. Guangdong featured several superlative players, including ex-NBA players Yi Jianlian (20/10/1 in the regular season) and Sonny Weems (21/6/6).
Game 1 was a stunner, with the Ducks shockingly taking complete control of the game, leading by 17 points late in the third quarter. But the Southern Tigers stayed cool and chipped away throughout the fourth quarter. Still, down by four with less than 10 seconds to go, Guangdong forced a key turnover by trapping Lin’s fellow guard Shou Fang in the backcourt, setting up a last second, game tying, twisting bank shot by Weems. Guangdong prevailed in overtime, but two straight 1-point wins over Beijing made it clear that the 44-2 record meant little to the Ducks, especially Lin, who had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in the loss.
That was even clearer in Game 2, when the Ducks finally broke through and prevailed over the Southern Tigers as Lin hit a trio of jump shots down the stretch, scoring 25 to go with 6 rebounds and 3 assists in a 90-86 win. This set up the finale, which proved to be as hard fought and thrilling as the first two. The Ducks trailed for most of the game, but cut the lead to one on a crucial three-pointer by Shou Fang with 17 seconds to go. After Guangdong answered with a score, Lin came right back with a driving layup to cut it to one. The Southern Tigers answered again, putting their lead back up to three, leaving seven seconds for Lin to try to find a way. Harassed all the way upcourt, the best he could manage was a 35-foot attempt as time ran out, which clanged off the front rim, ending the Ducks’ season.
Guangdong thus survived the Ducks, and went on to defeat the Liaoning Flying Leopards in two out of three in the finals as well for the championships, though the games with the Ducks were far more competitive overall.
How did Lin fare in the CBA overall? First and foremost, this marked a second injury-free year for Lin. Since missing almost the entire 2017-18 season with Brooklyn after the torn patella in the opening game, Lin played in 74 out of 81 regular season games with the Hawks and Raptors in 2018-19, and in 39 out of 40 games with the Ducks that year (he also missed six games when he was briefly “rotated” off the active roster to make room for other foreign teammates, a stint that ended quicker than planned when the Ducks foundered in his absence). Second, he had clearly upped his game not only from Toronto, but also from his best years in the NBA. He was a bit more controlled and cautious when taking to the rim, opting for more floaters, bankers and short step-back jumpers to protect himself. He also was more reliant on this midrange game, converting his deadly short jumper in the 15-foot range. Perhaps most importantly, he returned to respectability from the three-point line, nailing 34% of his shots, albeit with the slightly friendlier CBA dimensions, which are about a foot shorter than the NBA.
Of course there were critics – there always are with Jeremy Lin. The rap would start with the CBA itself, a lesser league than the NBA, of course, and the Euro League. That is uncontested, but the CBA is a very competitive league, not only with the two foreign players on each roster, almost all former NBA players (such as O.J. Mayo), but also with 1-2 local players per team who are NBA caliber.
From there, the critics would move on to his stats, which, while impressive on an absolute basis (22/6/6), are quite low by CBA standards for foreign guards, of which the CBA abounds. Joe Young, Dominique Jones, Darius Adams, Jamal Franklin, Lester Hudson all averaged more than 29 points per game, and they were not the only guards to outscore Lin. But they shot far more often than Lin: Young hoisted up 28 shot attempts per game, Jones 27 and Adams 25, while Lin took only 15 shots. He was, of course, one of the most efficient players in the league.
Lin is simply not that type of player. The prototypical CBA foreign player is paid to shoot and score, like the legendary Jimmer Fredette. Lin cannot play that way, he plays to win, and his style is to make his teammates better. He looks to get others involved in the game early, penetrates and dumps out to open players at the three point line, and looks to his big men for easy baskets after the pick and roll. He also played very solid defense, never resting at the other end of the court. His is not a one-dimensional game.
The league itself was certainly impressed: Lin was named first team All-CBA (despite the gaudy stats of the other point guards), Guard of the Year (to drive home the point) and was also named to the All-CBA Defensive Team, a distinction not many would have expected. Toss in the All Star Game MVP and the near colossal upset of Guangdong and you have ample factual validation of a superb year.
But one could also simply go with the “eye test,” which yields and even more impressive verdict that stats or awards. Fans watching the games saw a player succeeding – even dominating -- while being double- and triple-teamed, forced to sit out stretches when only one foreigner could be on the court at one time, and subjected to outright violence on the court to such a degree you can find YouTube videos on the subject. CBA opposition utterly pounded Lin, with little protection from referees, and yet he thrived. (In one game, the Shanghai Sharks routinely practiced group muggings on Lin, but while this was a particularly egregious example, the general phenomenon was season long.)
But apart from the pounding, or in spite of it, Lin simply was the best player in nearly every game, doing what it took not to simply score, but to win. In one game, the Ducks trailed the Shenzhen Aviators by a point with just two seconds left after an Aviator three pointer. Lin caught the inbounds pass in stride, crossed half court, and somehow managed to draw a shooting foul 40 feet from the hoop. He calmly sank all three free throws for the win. This was evidence of Lin’s ability to rise to the occasion and succeed down the stretch – and this was on an emotional night when the Ducks honored former captain Ji Zhe, who had died of cancer earlier that week.
One thing for sure: Lin certainly looked NBA-ready, a far cry from the hesitant and still-injury-recovering benchwarmer of his Raptor days.
THE OFFSEASON, 2020
But whether one sided with the fans or the critics, Lin himself had no doubts about his performance at all. He considered himself an NBA-caliber player. A month after the end of the CBA playoffs, in mid-September, he informed the Ducks that he was leaving them and the CBA, and announced he wanted to return to the NBA. The Ducks surely wanted him back, presumably at the same (or higher) $3 million salary he had earned in 2019-20. In attempting an NBA return, he walked away from that, for even if he succeeded and made an NBA roster, he would likely earn the NBA minimum, which for him would have been $2.3 million – and if he failed, then far, far less. Some of those close to him told him he was crazy to take walk away from guaranteed millions -- and a country that revered him -- but clearly, he burned with the need to prove that he was NBA-worthy, and was willing to do so, without hesitation.
It is safe to say that the NBA did not come running. Lin later admitted that he contacted every team, as well as NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s office, in his attempt to get invited to a training camp, but not a single NBA franchise expressed any interest. One of the calls Lin made was to former high school teammate Kirk Lacob, the Golden State Warriors’ assistant general manager and son of owner Joe Lacob. It was the elder Lacob who, back in 2010, alerted the Warrior front office about Lin, resulting in his initial signing with the team to begin his professional career.
History seemed about to repeat, as the Lacob connection bore fruit again. It became clear the Warriors were interested in signing Lin, with the purpose of assigning him to their G-League squad, the Santa Cruz Warriors. But as the deadline approached, the Warriors could not get the requisite releases from the CBA on time, foiling Lin’s comeback plans. But the NBA found another route, creating what became known as the “Jeremy Lin Rule,” which allowed NBA teams to designate one NBA veteran (five years plus) for their G League affiliate squad.
So the comeback saga came full circle, with Lin seeking to continue his NBA career where it started. It was the D League back then, and the Warriors’ affiliate was the Reno Big Horns, but now, just over 10 years down the road, Lin was set to start all over again in a near identical setting, with San Jose. And while the Warriors were the sponsors of the San Jose team, Lin could sign with any NBA team that desired his service, at any time.
THE G LEAGUE, 2021
Lin took the court on February 10, 2021, as the starting point guard of the San Jose Warriors. The G League is a development league, and veteran players like Lin are relatively rare. Also rare are players who have an NBA future, but the league is geared to them. These players are much better served developing their skills in real games than sitting on the bench in the NBA. For the Warriors, San Jose essentially existed to develop two players in particular: Jordan Poole, the Warriors first round pick in 2018, and Nico Mannion, their first pick (though in the second round) in 2020. Poole and Mannion were both guards, and, like Lin, could play either the point or shooting guard. Lin would have to share time with them, and also recognize that part of his job was to mentor and develop them.
The Warriors roster was a movable feast. In their 16 games, the team had 16 players on their squad, 12 of whom started games (though none more than 11), 12 averaged at least 20 minutes played per game (not quite the same 12 who started), and each player averaged at least 14 minutes per game. There would be no opportunity to develop any true team cohesion in this environment; the idea was to develop the two draft picks, Poole and Mannion, and see if there were any other hidden gems. (One of them, the sweet shooting forward Alex Toupane, ended up with a championship ring with the Bucks.)
excelled from the outset, looking every bit the veteran among kids, playing the
role of steady hand and chief instigator.
The team was unimpressive at the start, losing three of their first four
games, but Lin was solid, averaging 18 points, 8 assists with a terrific 48/48/89
shooting slash line, in only 30 minutes per game. In his first game, he showed off a smooth
three-point motion, and nailed his first one just two minutes into the opener.
The game that drew national attention was the third game versus, perhaps appropriately for the comeback theme, the Westchester Knicks. This was the first win for the Warriors, and Lin went for 29 points on the strength of a stunning 7 for 9 performance from the 3-point line (which was, of course, NBA regulation distance). The “Linsanity” headlines re-emerged and the comeback story got some play; importantly for the latter, the attention was focused on Lin’s newfound three-point touch, doing much to erase the memory of Lin’s dreadful 0-17 three-point start in Toronto two year earlier. Using more of the “push” motion made famous by his former Golden State warrior teammate, Steph Curry, Lin’s confidence in the shot was easy to see.
But the comeback narrative quickly took a U-turn when Lin sat out the Warriors’ fifth game with back soreness. Of all the reasons an NBA team might be wary to bring Lin abroad, his injury history loomed largest. No one wants to sign a player, at any salary, who cannot stay on the floor. Lin did an admirable job of damage control when he returned the sixth game and played superbly, with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, including 4 of 8 from three-point range. Had he continued to play, and excel, one might have written off the missed game as simply an exercise in abundant caution, protecting a player who surely seemed to be NBA bound.
But then Lin missed the next five games.
There was no escaping that narrative. Whatever interest Lin may have been generating was dealt a severe blow by his balky back.
He came back strong once again in the Warriors’ twelfth game, averaging over 20 points per game in the last four games of the regular season, and picking up where he left off, shooting over 50% overall (though with a slight slump in his three-point shooting). The Warriors ended up at 11-4, good enough for the postseason, winning the first round of the playoffs (winning a game) and losing in the second (also one game). Playing now without Mannion and Poole, both called up by the Warriors, Lin continued with the confident play and (once again) superb three-point shooting, and kept the Dubs in contention with the roving cast of characters.
Lin’s G League play overall reinforced and extended his performance in the CBA the year before. He continued to find ways to be effective around the rim without putting his body at risk. His midrange game continued to be superb. But the final piece was the emergence of a deadly three-point shot. Again, while the stats were there – 43% shooting (25 for 58, including the playoffs) – what was more stunning was the eye test, Lin confidently looking for the three, hoisting up more than five a game, well over his NBA career average of under three, more even than the four attempts per game he averaged in the CBA. With his versatility on offense, capability on defense and strong playmaking skills, he was clearly a candidate to help an NBA team in the stretch run.
But the call never came. It was not for lack of spots, or lack of action. Of the 10 leading scorers in the G League, only Lin never signed an NBA contract. And the NBA managed to find places for many guards; after the trading deadline, there were signings galore, of NBA veterans who were clearly past their primes (such as Jeff Teague and Isaiah Thomas), those who had rarely cracked NBA rotations (Gary Peyton II, Tim Frazier and Yogi Ferrell), as well as such household names (all guards) as Armoni Brooks, Ben McLemore, Tyler Cook, Shaquille Harrison, Devin Cannady and Mike James, among others.
None of these players compiled a body of work as impressive as Lin’s in 2021, and some of them were Lin’s age or older. So why did was he ignored? There are a variety of theories. Lin had been out of the NBA for a full two years by the spring of 2021, and such a lengthy absence, in and of itself, is a drawback. The memories of that last stint with Toronto, the worst playing stretch of Lin’s career by far, surely lingered. The injuries that caused Lin to miss most of two consecutive seasons also represented a red flag, reinforced, of course, by those missed six games with San Jose. All contributed to the indifference.
But there was surely another factor as well: Lin’s growing profile as a spokesperson for the Asian-American community, which heightened his already outsized presence.
THE SPOKESPERSON, 2021
Lin made news during the G League season when he revealed, in late February, that he had been called “coronavirus” by an opposing player. Lin refused to name the guilty party, instead choosing to meet with him one-on-one to raise his consciousness (and the NBA launched an investigation). But Lin did talk openly about what it’s like to be an Asian American, focusing not only on the recent racism against the AAPI community inspired by the origination of the coronavirus in China, but of the broader AAPI experience in America, unleashing a lifetime of deeply felt resentments.
“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism. Being a 9-year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court. Being a man of faith doesn’t mean I don’t fight for justice, for myself and for others. So here we are again, sharing how we feel. Is anyone listening?
Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans. We are tired of being told that we don’t experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble. We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they’re REALLY from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we’re inherently unattractive. We are tired of the stereotypes in Hollywood affecting our psyche and limiting who we think we can be. We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren’t as real.
I want better for my elders who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make a life for themselves here. I want better for my niece and nephew and future kids. I want better for the next generation of Asian American athletes than to have to work so hard to just be ‘deceptively athletic.’”
There was a time, back in the Linsanity days (and even before), when Lin downplayed his Asian roots, wanting to be seen, quite fairly, as a player first, not a curiousity or a cause. As an Asian-American, of course, Lin has endured a lifetime of slurs and abuse. As a collegiate athlete of some renown, this continued, even in hallowed Ivy League gymnasiums. And as a professional athlete, more of the same. Countless times Lin was refused entry to arenas because security personnel did not believe he was a player. An ESPN sportswriter once memorably headlined an unfavorable article “Chink in the Armor.” The “coronavirus” slur was hardly new. But nevertheless, Lin took up the cause of his community as never before, and noted explicitely that he regretted his lack of leadership on these issues when he was at the height of his fame.
But he was ready now. And the platform expanded dramtically, and globally when, on March 26, a mass shooting in Georgia resulted in the death of eight spa workers in three locations, six of whom were of Asian descent. With the killings, the need for leadership in the global AAPI community deepened, and Lin was ready. Suddenly he was everywhere; apart from his own outlets (primarily Instagram), he appeared on a variety of shows and forums, including The Ellen Show, CNN, PBS as well as the featured speaker on Class Day at his alma mater Harvard. He articulated not only the ongoing racism but also the growing fear that the AAPI community was feeling in the wake of COVID and, now, the horrific events in Georgia.
“It feels very different. Growing up it was always something that might be a little bit more subtle or verbal, but I think what we’re seeing right now is a lot of physical, actual violence, lives being taken, a lot of Asian-Americans who are looking over their shoulders when they go outside, when they go to the grocery store. And we’re starting to slowly see more and more reporting of what is going on, but this is something that is definitely hitting different.”
Lin even took on Donald Trump, explicitly and directly.
“The previous administration and the rhetoric that was being used. You can even hear in the audio recordings, the cheers, the laughs, when it was called the ‘Kung Flu Virus’ and everybody was cheering. I think there’s just a lot of racially charged hatred right now that we’re seeing and feeling. Asians have always been projected as being others or outsiders. We’re starting to see a lot of those microaggressions turn into actual acts of violence and it is really hard to watch. So I encourage people to watch these videos to see this is actually happening. These are real stories, real lives.”
And he committed himself to more activism in the future:
“We can’t stop speaking out, we can’t stop fighting and we can’t lose hope. If we lose hope, that’s the end of it.”
All of this leadership was surely tremendously helpful to the global dialogue, and Lin’s embracing of the role was something he saw as necessary. But global spokespersons for non-basketball related issues are not what is typically sought from players who round out rosters, who are expected to immerse themselves in the team goals and wait for their on-court opportunities.
I remember listening a few years ago to Mike Francesa, the king of New York sports talk radio, as he discussed the apparent blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, the erstwhile Sanf Francisco 49er quarterback who protested police violence against Blacks in a powerful, visible and highly controversial way, by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Francesa said, plainly, that NFL franchises did not want the “distraction” that would inevtiable arise if Kapernick was signed as a back-up QB. Who would want the constant questioning of the coaching staff about Kaepernick’s views? The second-guessing on why he was not being used, looking for racial motivation? Why would an owner willfully provide him with a platform from which to espouse non-football views? And at a position where the major demand is to be ready in case of injury, and otherwise man a clipboard on the sideline?
Lin is not at Kapernick’s level in terms of controversy, but he is certainly a highly visible player, one who has inspired a vocal global following and, at times, an equally vocal set of detractors. His high profile was surely a factor for teams considering bringing him onto their team – in the past, when Lin was a solid rotation player, it was surely viewed as both a positive and a negative, the former given the marketing and sales potential inherent in Lin’s built-in fan base and his connection to the AAPI community.
But throw the activism on top of that, and Lin’s status as a borderline rotation player at best, and one can readily imagine Lin being viewed as a needless distraction by NBA owners (despite the league’s reputation as a far more progressive entity than the other professional leagues).
This is not right, of course. Lin's own unique qualities were surely working against him -- that which makes him different, makes him someone to avoid. This is simply another form of racism -- blackballing.
In the end, Lin himself wrote the best take on his G League experience, on Instagram, after it became clear once and for all that an NBA contract was not in the offing. The frustration was clear.
“May 16th. In my mind was an imaginary circle around this date for an NBA callup. The final deadline.
After a year in the CBA where I overcame mental barriers from my past, I KNEW I was still an NBA player. Teams all asked if I still had the hunger, health and skill to hang in the NBA. They wanted to see me hoop in-person.
So I gave up a season overseas to go down to the G League - a move few vets dare make. Ive always known I need to jump through extra hoops to prove I belong so this was par for the course. Im really proud of what I accomplished - I killed it in the G League and objectively showed it being a league leader in all categories a PG should and shooting career-highs across the board.
For months, I saw others get contracts, chances, opportunities. I told myself I just need ONE ten-day contract, one chance to get back on the floor and I would blow it out the water. After all that's how my entire career started - off one chance to prove myself.
For reasons I'll never fully know, that chance never materialized. But I proved Im better than ever and an NBA player. And like I've said before...dream big dreams, risk big heartache.
Im blessed and had an NBA career beyond my wildest dreams. I had the luxury of taking a year to chase a dream w/o worrying about paying bills. My family, friends, business partners all waited on me as I gave up being a go-to player in China to go back to the G League.
To the next generation of Asian American ballers - man, I so wish I could have done more on the NBA court to break more barriers - esp now - but you guys got next. When you get your shot, do NOT hesitate. Don't worry whether anyone else thinks you belong. The world never will. If theres any chance to doubt, they will. But when you get your foot in the door, KICK THAT DOOR DOWN. And then bring others up with you.
I didnt get it done, but I have no regrets. I gave my ALL and hold my head high. As for whats next, I trust what God has in store for me. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Thanks to everyone who's rolled w me on this journey. I love my squaddd.”
THE OFFSEASON, 2021
Lin did not wait long to make his basketball destination decision for 2021-22. On June 14, a full six weeks before the NBA free agency period began, Lin announced that he was returning to the Beijing Ducks in the CBA. In fact, Lin made the decision even though it was unclear that the CBA, given COVID, would even allow foreign players into the country to play, and, if so, what restrictions to foreign players’ playing time might be imposed.
From Lin’s perspective, he wanted not only to bring some quick clarity to his future, without being at the mercy of others, but, practically speaking, he wanted to be in China physically, so he could get on the court quickly, whenever decisions were made, and not endure further quarantining or perhaps even an inaibility to return to China.
But nothing ever happens in a straightforward manner to Jeremy Lin, and, in this instance, he announced on his third day in China, while still in quarantine, that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He ended up with a 30-day stint in the hospital, followed by more quaratining. He finally was able to practice on the court earlier this week, joining the Ducks on Monday, October 11. He noted on Instagram that it had been 11 weeks since he had been on a court, the longest since he started playing basketball as a 5-year old. As a consequence, while the Ducks open the season today, Lin will not be playing. He needs to build up his stamina so that he can be game-ready, perhaps later in the month.
As a now 33-year old, we can envision Lin playing many more seasons in the CBA if he wants, assuming he is and remains physically strong. Stephon Marbury played in the league until he was 41. Whether Lin actually does that remains to be seen. He might choose to begin his next chapter, whatever that may be, much sooner. Who knows, the NBA might come calling (though, clearly, that is more doubtful than ever, especially since the CBA season ends late this year, with the playoffs slated to continue through most of May). But for now, he is on the cusp of another season, hoping to break Guangdong’s stranglehold on the CBA title as a primary goal – along with staying healthy, and, presumably, speaking out when his voice is needed.
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