Jeremy Lin studied economics at Harvard, and now Lin is a study in economics at Harvard.
Lin and his alma mater are teaming up on a sponsorship deal with Nike, according to Bloomberg News. The idea is a co-licensed merchandise line capitalizing on the popularity of the Houston Rockets guard who became a worldwide phenomenon last winter as a member of the New York Knicks. Details of the deal were not available, as the contract had not been signed, Bloomberg reported.
Although the 24-year-old Lin was born in the United States, his Taiwanese lineage makes him an attractive pitchman in a part of the world that loves basketball, but hasn’t seen many of its own make it in the NBA. The only other Asian player to achieve anything resembling NBA stardom has been China’s Yao Ming. Yao, an eight-time All-Star, retired from the Rockets last year.
Lin also works for Harvard, where, according to Bloomberg, 18 percent of its 6,657 undergraduates are of Asian descent. Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said the partnership makes sense for Harvard on a global level.
“Jeremy Lin provides an incredible platform for Harvard in China,” Swangard told Bloomberg. “To millions of Chinese children, the NBA and Harvard are separately ‘aspirational brands’ and Lin is uniquely positioned to align their messages. I predict Lin will become one of the most effective brand-building tools for Harvard in China.”
Harvard’s endowment was $30.7 billion through June. It is the wealthiest college in the world.
Lin’s alma mater isn’t the only thing getting rich off his newfound fame, though. Lin himself has a new three-year, $25 million contract with the Rockets, who recently signed a deal with East-West Bank, which has branches in China, Bloomberg reported. And Coca-Cola last year added advertisements written in Chinese to its ad space in Madison Square Garden. Lin also had the second-best selling NBA jersey between last April and this April, trailing only the Bulls’ Derrick Rose.
Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists last season.