In just over three weeks, Jeremy Lin has exploded onto the NBA scene, winning the hearts of fans across the country.
However, not one of these fans in the United States matters. Why? Because Lin has China on his side.
Think back to the 2002-2003 NBA season. A storm was coming that would forever change the NBA as we knew it; that storm was Yao Ming.
With his arrival, over one billion potential basketball fans were added to the mix, all unified behind Yao.
With this huge wealth of support to draw upon, Yao started in the All-Star game as a rookie that year, receiving about 250,000 more votes than three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal.
His stat line of 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game was sub-par at best for an All-Star starter, but with the support of China, Yao made the first of many All-Star appearances, even breaking the record for All-Star votes with 2,558,278 total votes.
I see no reason why Lin can't do the same.
Although the stretch of games in which he made a name for himself came a bit too late for him to make an All-Star bid, Jeremy Lin—like Yao Ming—has huge support in China.
Don't be surprised if we see Lin as the starting point guard in next year's All-Star game with his ability to draw upon the huge population of China, especially after all of these stand-out performances.
Derrick Rose should get ready to sit on the bench next year. It looks like he'll be there for as long as Lin is in the league.