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A noted gaming enthusiast, Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin has decided to create his own eSports team. In partnership with the China Digital Group and Vici Gaming, a Chinese eSports organization, Lin will endorse a Dota 2 team called Team VGJ.
“China Digital Group considers eSports as one of major business of growth in recent years. We’ll integrate our celebrity resources and eSports teams to create market value,” said Chris Hsu, CEO of the CDC, to ESPN.
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However, Lin will not be investing any of his own money into the team, according to a recent ESPN eSports podcast; he will be the face of Team VGJ and act as a brand ambassador, similar to how athletes license their name, image and likeness for commercialized companies.
Team VGJ will immediately compete in Dota 2, a multi-player online battle arena game, and Lin will serve as an honorary captain for the new team.
Last month at the annual Dota 2 tournament, The International, Lin alluded that he would be interested in getting more involved with the gaming scene, something he has been a part of since a teenager.
“I’m looking into these opportunities, and it’s authentic, because I play the game three to four times a week and I have since I was 16 years old,” Lin told ESPN. “I’ve been playing for the last 11 years, every week, several times, so it’s something I love doing. So I’m definitely trying to get into this space as much as I can.
“We’re still talking about endorsements. I’m an NBA player, and I’m taken care of very well. When I endorse a team, I’ll take care of the team very well. I hope to (take) my experience from the NBA and bring it to eSports.”
Lin joins a growing list of current and former NBA players who are entering eSports. Just last month, Boston Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko purchased the eSports franchise, Renegades. Earlier this year, former NBA veteran and current NBA analyst on TNT Shaquille O’Neal invested in NRG eSports while three-time NBA champion Rick Fox founded Echo Fox last year.