'Linsanity' a boon for NBA in China

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BEIJING (AP) -- The NBA says the excitement surrounding New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is a further boon to its lucrative China business.

NBA China CEO David Shoemaker said the Harvard graduate's stunning rise this month is catalyzing growth in viewership and merchandise sales that waned following the retirement last year of Houston's Chinese center Yao Ming.

Shoemaker said in an interview Friday that the league's Beijing office is working hard to nurture the frenzy surrounding Lin, whose parents were born in Taiwan. That includes ensuring Knicks games are as accessible as possible, providing online content, and using social media to stir the discussion.

Lin's followers on China's Twitter-like microblogging service, Weibo, have soared this week from 150,000 to 1.4 million by Friday.