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Jeremy Lin takes up Yao's mantle


13:31, February 22, 2012

Jeremy Lin of New York Knicks reacts during the NBA game against Dallas Mavericks at the Madison Square Garden in New York Feb. 19, 2012. Knicks won 104-97. (Xinhua, File Photo)

HANGZHOU, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- "Lin-sanity," "Lin-credible" and "Linderella" are just a few of the words used to describe the frenzy surrounding Jeremy Lin, a New York Knicks point guard whose inspiring story has made him a new idol for young Chinese after the retirement of former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming.

Lin has made headlines nearly every day in recent times, with his name becoming one of the most heavily-searched terms on, China's leading search engine. But there is a group of people in China who were fortunate enough to meet Lin before he became famous.

Heng Liang, a student at the Pinghu Middle School in east China's Zhejiang province, is one of the few who knew Lin and even played basketball with him.

"Lin is not unreachable like Yao Ming. He is very humble and just like a brother in the neighborhood," said Heng, who played basketball with Lin when Lin visited his school last year.

Heng still keeps a basketball signed by Lin, which he estimates to be worth at least 5,000 U.S. dollars on the Internet.

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