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Jeremy Lin: Bridging gap between U.S. and China ‘my off-court job’

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview aired this week, Jeremy Lin talks to David Meltzer of Sports Marketing about a lot of things, how he sees “God’s fingerprints” on everything in his life, the importance of his family ... and how his unique position as the first Chinese-American in the NBA gives him an opportunity to bring China and the United States closer.

In talking about that role, Lin said he’s “very cognizant” of the power of his brand.

”That’s like my off-the-court job, is figuring out this platform and how to do it right and create a positive impact,” he said, adding that he acknowledges he’s in a “unique situation.”

”There’s many things that I’m able to do,” he said, as reported by the Christian Post. “We talk a lot about how to make it right, what vision, what brand, what path we want to take, and it’s been enlightening ... this is baptism by fire figuring it out ... we spent a lot of it thinking about China and how we can help.”

Lin didn’t provide any details, but he spends part of every summer visiting China and his parents’ native land of Taiwan, hitting cities in both countries on his “basketball camp” tour which combines basketball and faith. (Last summer, he brought Caris LeVert along on part of the trip.)

And he makes frequent appearances on Chinese TV and on Chinese media in general. Friday, it was announced that he, popular Taiwanese actor and singer Jay Chou and former Net and Chinese league superstar Stephon Marbury will appear on a basketball-themed show, “Dunk Boys,” on Youku, an video hosting service much like YouTube.

Next month, Lin will be featured on the cover of the Chinese edition of People Magazine. Despite his injuries, Lin remains a huge presence in basketball-mad China and Taiwan.

And NBA China has signed him to do analyis of the NBA playoffs.

Now, of course, Joe Tsai, like Lin a Taiwanese citizen with Chinese heritage, has joined him in Brooklyn, buying 49 percent of the Nets from Mikhail Prokhorov. Tsai not only brings his heritage but marketing genius. As a founder of Alibaba, Tsai helped create one of the world’s great e-commerce companies with enormous reach. He, too, is interested in relations between China, the U.S. and Taiwan.

Tsai has called Lin his “favorite player.” It’s not yet known how close the two are. They were seen talking and joking after the Nets game with the Warriors in March.

One thing is certain, the Nets dream of a global franchise remains alive ... and Lin and Tsai will have a big role promoting it.