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Jeremy Lin Personally Invited to Play in Yao Ming’s Charity Game

Wanna know how big time Jeremy Lin is?

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming is having his annual Charity basketball game in Taipei on Wednesday. All-World center Dwight Howard is playing.  So is rookie point guard sensation Brandon Jennings. And NBA’s Most Improved Player Aaron Brooks.

But with a lineup like that already set, Yao Ming felt the need to pick up the phone and call Lin personally to invite him to play. Lin accepted and is leaving tonight. Not bad for a guy who would be doing well to get 10 minutes a game as a rookie.

LIN: “I’m extremly excited and honored to have been personally invited by Yao Ming to participate in his charity game. I can’t wait to meet him and be a part of this special event.”

Lin — the first Asian-American on the Warriors since Raymond Townsend in ’78 — hasn’t been to Taiwan since he was in the 7th grade. His parents are both natives of Taiwan. So, no doubt, the native son will have some serious support at Taipei Arena on Wednesday. The only other rookie on Yao’s celebrity squad is Luke Babbitt, who was drafted No. 16 overall and traded to Portland.

Yao’s team will play against the Shanghai Sharks Chinese National Team. The game is for the Yao Ming Foundation, which is helping re-build schools in provinces of China devastated by earthquake.

Bill Duffy, Yao Ming’s agent: “Yao Ming is proud of how Jeremy has positioned himself to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. In addition to his desire to help the Children in Taiwan, who are in need, he also wanted all of the citizens of Taiwan to celebrate the accomplishments of Jeremy.”

This event is the latest in what has been a whirlwind of a month for Lin. After going undrafted in late-June, he became a NBA summer league star and signed with his childhood team, which has set off media storm. There are talks of shoe deals, billboards in the Bay Area, and fans ready to deem him a starter.

Despite it all the chaos, Lin seems to be enjoying it. Check out this post on his Twitter page (JLin7):

“Going to Taiwan for Yao’s charity game. Funny txt msg from a friend: “Congrats on signing! U and David Lee. That’s 2 asians on the same team.”

Marcus Thompson