While Jeremy Lin awaits a free agency offer from an NBA team, the Beijing Ducks are working to bring him back to China. Chinese Basketball Association reporter Jia Lei posted an update to that effect on his Weibo account on Wednesday morning. “Beijing Shougang is actively pursuing Jeremy Lin, trying to persuade Jeremy Lin to give up the NBA, return to the CBA, and join Beijing,” Jia wrote.
Joseph Krassenstein is the director of marketing at AIB Sportsbrands Studios, a company that helps NBA players connect with their fans in China. “If the NBA is going through a bit of political tension, people will still authentically follow their favorite icons and their idols,” he said. “I think that fandom never stopped. If anything, I think the fans doubled down in their fandom in their efforts to keep connected to their favorite stars.”
Krassenstein says he can only imagine the kind of negotiations that went on behind closed doors. “There’s a lot of things happening behind the scenes with a lot of very influential people on both sides, from the government side, the distribution broadcasting side, to also the NBA China side — they’ve all worked super hard to get back to a level of open dialogue and commitment to pushing the game further in China.”
Lin, who played for the Beijing Ducks during the CBA’s coronavirus-affected 2019-20 season before deciding to attempt an NBA return for next season, was top of the list. The X-tep sponsored Lin was fined a total of 550,000 yuan (US$83,188) for three separate offences.
Boasting a mini basketball court and a wall of superstars’ signed jerseys, the National Basketball Association for the first time joined this year’s China International Import Expo, or CIIE, which kicked off Thursday in Shanghai. A year after a political tweet by former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey created friction between the league and Chinese fans and authorities, the NBA has a large presence at CIIE, occupying an 800-square-meter area. It’s the largest exhibition in the expo’s new sports and outdoor leisure section. The NBA exhibit includes a sharpshooting challenge, a presentation of the league’s history in China, and promotions for talent programs targeting Chinese youth. Liu Shuo, public relations manager for NBA China, described attending this year’s CIIE as a “rare and precious” opportunity.