NBA: Tearful Jeremy Lin seeks return after one season in China with Beijing Ducks

The 32-year-old guard, who, as a Toronto Raptors player in 2019, became the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship, signed for Beijing as an unrestricted free agent last year.

Agence France-Presse September 15, 2020 11:53:44 IST
NBA: Tearful Jeremy Lin seeks return after one season in China with Beijing Ducks

Beijing: Jeremy Lin said on Tuesday he is leaving the Beijing Ducks after one season in China and wants to return to the NBA, where he sparked the "Linsanity" craze of 2012.

The 32-year-old guard, who, as a Toronto Raptors player in 2019, became the first Asian-American to win an NBA championship, signed for Beijing as an unrestricted free agent last year.

Lin has demanded better protection in the Chinese Badminton Association (CBA) after he needed hospital treatment and temporarily lost his hearing following the Beijing Ducks' semi-final defeat to eventual champions Guangdong Southern Tigers.

He complained of an array of injury problems after the 88-85 loss that ended Lin's first season in China.

Lin, who last year became the first Asian-American to win the NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors, was left bent double on court after his buzzer-beater missed, and appeared emotional following the defeat.

"This decision has really been the hardest in my life," Lin, who has complained about the rough-house treatment he received in the CBA, told his seven million followers in a video on the Twitter-like Weibo.

"Every morning I would wake up at 4 am or 5 am, thinking, thinking and thinking all the time.

"In the end, although Shougang (the Ducks) has treated me incredibly well... giving me everything I wanted, in the end, I feel that I still have NBA dreams.

"I still have time to play (there) and I have to chase this."

Lin began his NBA career with Golden State Warriors in 2010 before his heroics with the New York Knicks in 2012 sparked a frenzy that was dubbed 'Linsanity'.

He went on to play for several other NBA teams but has struggled with injury in recent seasons.

Despite that, he enjoyed a successful stay in China, where the CBA was suspended for almost five months because of the coronavirus .

Lin averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game during the regular season.

"I know that many of my fans have stood by me no matter if I was injured," he said in the video.

"Why was this decision so difficult? Yesterday, when I shared this with my family and friends, when I told them I would have to leave China, I cried."

NBA Tearful Jeremy Lin seeks return after one season in China with Beijing Ducks

Lin complained of an array of injury problems after the 88-85 loss that ended his first season in China. Image credit: AFP

Earlier, speaking on Chinese state television on Monday, Lin said he had problems with his ankles, knees, neck, and ears, and would need a second trip to the hospital for his hearing.

"My condition isn't very good because, as we all know, the competition is fierce for both teams," he said.

"We basically play the game and hit people at the same time.

"I can understand if you hit and hurt your opponent by mistake, but (it is unacceptable) if you do it on purpose or the referee doesn't protect the players.

"We want to be safe on the court, that's all I can say. I'll leave the rest for you guys to discuss."

Beijing's stand-in coach Xie Libin conceded that age and injury were taking their toll on his star man, who bagged a team-high 25 points when they tied the series 1-1.

Lin, who signed for Beijing last year as an unrestricted free agent, is among the most fouled players in the CBA in recent seasons, according to league statistics cited by Chinese media.

"He went down so many times in each game," Xie told the state-run Beijing Youth Daily. "But you must appreciate that he is in his 30s and played in the NBA for many years.

"He has injuries, his nose, eyes, and even his ears; he couldn't hear anything after the game."

Guangdong will face Liaoning Flying Leopards when the finals series start on Tuesday.

The CBA returned to action on 20 June after a five-month stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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