“I definitely have international appeal,” the Houston Rockets’ point guard and the first Taiwanese- or Chinese-American to play in the National Basketball Association, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “There will be tours in Asia -- that’s part of the package.”
Lin joined Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Adidas following the end of his agreement with Nike, which, he said, chose not to match the offer. The 25-year-old declined to comment on financial terms of the new contract.
Lin said he wouldn’t have his own line of shoes in the short term. He will, however, have input on product development and design.
“Adidas wouldn’t have made a pitch to me if they didn’t believe in me as a player and person,” said Lin, who joins Rockets teammate Dwight Howard and former Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls as Adidas pitchmen. Other basketball endorsers of the company include Washington’s John Wall and Portland’s Damian Lillard.
Financial terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed by Adidas, which as of July had 11 percent of China’s sportswear market, trailing Nike’s 12 percent, according to data from Euromonitor International.
Nike dominates the basketball shoe market globally with Adidas a distant second. In the U.S., Nike possesses more than 90 percent of revenue between its namesake and Jordan brands while Adidas has 5 percent, according to researcher SportsOneSource.
Lin and retired All-Star Yao Ming, who also played for the Rockets, have bolstered basketball’s popularity in the world’s most populous nation, fueling viewership and apparel sales. The 7-foot-6 (2.30 meter) Yao played in Houston from 2002 to 2011. During that time Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) put its name on the team’s arena and other Asia-based companies sought affiliations with the Rockets.
Lin skyrocketed to fame during the 2011-12 season, which he spent with the New York Knicks. His rise became known as Linsanity, the label attached to the worldwide hysteria that the player himself moved to trademark.
He joined the Rockets before the 2012-13 season after the Knicks declined to match Houston’s three-year, $25 million contract offer.
Lin is averaging 14.1 points and 4.2 assists this season for the Rockets, who have a 22-13 record, second to the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division.
“They just want me to be myself,” Lin said of officials at Adidas. “Play basketball, take care of myself -- the way that I’ve been striving to do.”
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