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Adidas CEO Says Lin Jerseys for Sale in China in Days

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Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Adidas AG, the exclusive maker of National Basketball Association uniforms, will have jerseys modeled on those worn by New York Knick guard Jeremy Lin ready for sale in China in “the next couple of days.”

“We are quite happy that we are the partner of the NBA for several years now,” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Hainer said. said in an interview today in Shanghai. “This is what we all like in sports -- young people coming up and playing fantastic.” Hainer declined to comment on whether Adidas will try and sign Lin to a sponsorship agreement.

Lin rose from bench-warmer to stardom this month, leading the Knicks to their eighth win in nine games yesterday and igniting a fan frenzy dubbed “Linsanity.” That’s made the Harvard graduate’s number 17 jersey the best-selling on the NBA’s online store.

“Jeremy Lin would be attractive to consumer brands aimed at younger clients” including those selling sports apparel and beverages, said Chris Reitermann, Asia Pacific president for Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. Lin could make from $1 million to $10 million per sponsorship, Reitermann said by telephone. The $10 million level would be “difficult,” he said.

NBA players that currently have sponsorship agreements with Adidas include Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith.

Lin’s popularity surged after he entered a Feb. 4 game against the New Jersey Nets and helped the Knicks to a win by scoring 25 points off the bench. He started the next eight games, including scoring 38 points in a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers and posting 14 assists yesterday in a win over the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.

“Will he become a superstar? We don’t know,” Hainer said. “We are absolutely happy with our portfolio,” he said of Adidas’s sponsorship agreements. “But Jeremy Lin definitely has the potential.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Wong at swong139@bloomberg.net

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