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Yao Ming Wanted Jeremy Lin In Shanghai

Jeremy Lin has been released twice in his NBA career and spent considerable time on assignment to the NBA Development League, but the New York Knicks newest savior has had plenty of people saying they saw what he might be capable of ever since his breakout began. The latest, apparently, is Yao Ming.

Yao actually tried to sign Lin during the lockout as he was recruiting for his Shanghai Sharks in the CBA, according to a report in the New York Post.

It obviously didn't turn out in Yao's favor -- though his team is still in the playoffs with a roster that includes former NBA players Marcus Landry and Mike Harris -- but Lin and Yao's relationship remains strong.

"I actually talk to Yao after every game. He's taken me out to eat when I've seen him. He's obviously a role model, big brother and mentor to me. We keep in touch all the time.''

[...]

"I wasn't considering that just yet," Lin said, "but I figure if I get waived before the [Feb. 10] deadline and there's nothing left, you know, maybe I do need to go overseas, but God works in mysterious and miraculous ways."

It's interesting to consider all of the different paths Lin's career nearly took before ending up in New York with the opportunity of a lifetime. There were numerous times that he almost ended up with the Los Angeles Lakers, he could've stuck with the Dallas Mavericks out of Summer League and both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets could've kept him on the roster instead of waiving him earlier this season.

It all seems to have worked out for Lin, obviously, but one has to wonder what might've been had things not fallen in place so well for the second-year pro.

For more on the Knicks, check out Posting and Toasting.