Gady Epstein details how the phenom's popularity in China is creating serious problems for the Communist government:
Mr Lin is, put plainly, precisely everything that China’s state sport system cannot possibly produce. If Mr Lin were to have been born and raised in China, his height alone [6' 3''] might have denied him entry into China’s sport machine. …
China almost certainly has its own potential Jeremy Lin out there, but there is no path for him to follow. This also helps explain, as we have noted, why China fails at another sport it loves, football. Granted, Mr Lin’s own path to stardom is in itself unprecedented, but in America, the unprecedented is possible. Chinese basketball fans have taken note of this. Mr Lin’s story may be a great and inspiring proof of athleticism to the Chinese people, but it is also unavoidably a story of American soft power.
(Hat tip: Drezner)