Jeremy Lin is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to reach the NBA Finals.
At 9 p.m. (ET) today, the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors — Lin’s former and current teams, respectively — will face off for Game 1 of the highly-anticipated finals, with both teams having something of their own to look forward to.
The Warriors seek to become the fourth NBA franchise to make a championship three-peat, while the Raptors vye for their breakthrough title since entering the league in 1995.
In a new Instagram post, Lin, who took over the NBA seven years ago, called for support for Thursday’s game, which coincides with the end of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM).
As such, the 30-year-old basketball star took the opportunity to express pride over his heritage.
“APAHM is coming to an end soon! Been an HONOR reppin all the Asian Americans. For real I’m very proud to be the first Asian American in the NBA Finals. We need everyone’s support for Game 1 tomorrow!”
Games 3 and 4, which will be held at Golden State on June 5 and 7, respectively, will be a homecoming of sorts for “Linsanity,” who grew up in Palo Alto before joining the Warriors in 2010.
“Such an up and down journey for him over the last nine years with seven different teams. But he’s improved a ton, and has a real nice feel for the game,” said Peter Diepenbrock, Lin’s former coach at Palo Alto High School, according to KPIX 5.
He added, “He’s [Lin] had so many ups and downs with so many different coaches and injuries, I just think he’s had a lot of life experiences. And he’s become a very resilient person.”
It is worth noting that the first player of Asian descent to reach the NBA Finals is Chinese Inner Mongolian Mengke Bateer, who won the championship as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.
Sun Yue, another Chinese player, reached and won the finals as part of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009.
Last year, Jordan Clarkson became the first American of Asian descent (Filipino American) to reach the Finals as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, which the Warriors defeated in four games
Editor’s Note: An earlier headline stated that Jeremy Lin was the first “Asian American” to reach the NBA Finals. While Lin stated he was the “first Asian American” on his Instagram, Jordan Clarkson, whose mother is half-Filipino, is technically the first American of Asian descent to reach the NBA Finals.
Featured Images via Instagram / @jlin7