By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jeremy Lin, whose meteoric rise from obscurity to dazzling court general for the New York Knicks has become a global story, had a rare favor to ask of the massive media turnout for his team's 104-97 victory over the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
The NBA's first Taiwanese-American player, after scoring a team-high 28 points and doling out 14 assists, appealed for consideration for members of his family in Taiwan.
"I love my family, I love my relatives," he said, when asked about his grandmother in Taiwan, who has become something of a celebrity, according to a question asked by a Chinese television reporter.
"One special request I have is for the media back in Taiwan to kind of give them their space because they can't even go to work without being bombarded and people following them," he said.
"I want people to respect the privacy of my relatives in Taiwan. Hopefully this will get back to everybody because they need to live their lives as well," said Lin, who has won admiration for his humble demeanor and the way he has handled all the attention since bursting onto the sporting scene two weeks ago.
He continued his sensational run since being installed at point guard by the Knicks, who acquired him after he was cut by two NBA teams, and further justified his addition to Friday's Rising Stars Challenge over the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando.
The 23-year-old Harvard graduate said the win over the reigning NBA champions was a measuring stick for the Knicks and came against a boyhood idol of his in Mavericks' point guard Jason Kidd.
"He's a (San Francisco) Bay Area legend and I grew up in the Bay Area," said Lin, who led his Palo Alto, California, high school to a state championship. "I've admired him and watched him his whole career.
"We were talking throughout the game and he told me to keep playing hard and to keep building with the team. He gave me some veteran advice, and I'm very thankful to him for that. He's obviously a class act."
Also helping the Knicks on Sunday was swingman J.R. Smith, who debuted for New York after signing as a free agent after a stint in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Smith got his first real look at Lin in action when he entered the game in the first quarter.
"I didn't see a full game, I saw all the YouTube highlights," said Smith, whose 15 points was second-high for the Knicks. "Just watching him play, it was crazy.
"He really inspires a lot of people around here and a lot of people around the world," added Smith. "He is definitely a person that people can look up to. When you hear his story it gives you hope for anything."
(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Gene Cherry)