Jeremy Lin complains about a call in a loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 17.
Squeaky clean Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent, could be the Catholic Church's secret weapon in bringing moral integrity back into professional sports, reports our Chinese language sister paper Want Daily.
The 24-year-old Lin, who is an openly devout non-denominational Christian, is reportedly being courted by the Pontifical Council for Culture to attend a Vatican-sponsored international conference aimed at re-instilling moral and ethical values in athletes following numerous high-profile sporting scandals in recent years involving alcohol, sexual misconduct and performance enhancing drugs.
NFL quarterback Tim Tebow of the New York Jets, another star athlete and Christian, is also reportedly on the Pope's invite list.
Lin, who claims he plays basketball to "bring glory to God," rose from obscurity to superstardom early last year after leading the New York Knicks on a brief but spectacular run from the bottom of the standings to headlines around the world.
The "Linsanity" phenomenon may have died down somewhat since Lin relocated from the bright lights of New York City to Houston during the NBA off-season for a three-year, US$25 million contract, but the lucrative sponsorship deals have continued to follow him wherever he goes.
Lin, who already has a sponsorship deal with car brand Volvo and is rumored to be in talks with Nike to be the face of the sporting giant's first snow boots range, has reportedly turned down 17 sponsorship offers in the past three months.
The Harvard graduate is currently averaging 12.2 points, 6.2 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game this season, though his Rockets team has fallen to 21-21 as it tries to snap a seven-game losing streak. Lin recently missed out on a starting spot in the upcoming NBA All-Star Game next month in Houston, coming in third in the fan voting for Western Conference guards behind Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jeremy Lin 林書豪