Of all the places Caris LeVert was expecting to see his jersey, a night market in Taiwan probably wasn’t too high on the list.
To be fair, it was probably just as unlikely a place a fan was expecting to see LeVert, but there they were; fan, jersey and player converging on the other side of the world.
LeVert signed an autograph, but after such an unexpected encounter with his own jersey, the pro basketball player flipped the script and asked the fan for a picture.
“I’m like, ‘that’s crazy,’ so I signed it and I asked if I could take a picture,” LeVert said.
So how did the Brooklyn Nets’ up-and-coming winger find himself in Taiwan? He was there at the invitation of Jeremy Lin, who asked him to come along on Lin’s annual Asia trip to help coach a youth basketball camp.
“When he invited me it was a no-brainer,” LeVert said after returning to Brooklyn. “I love traveling and I wanted to experience something like that. I’ve heard Jeremy was super popular over there, so I wanted to see it first-hand.”
LeVert didn’t just see Lin’s popularity while riding shotgun, he was fully immersed in it. They were greeted by huge crowds everywhere they went as savvy fans were able to predict their every move. LeVert had seen the pictures of the hundreds of people surrounding Lin, but being in the thick of it was as jarring as jetlag – which he was still fighting off a week after the trip. They’d sign autographs for half an hour sometimes on their way to the bus.
“You see pictures, but being there first-hand was even more amazing,” LeVert said. “Every time we got off a bus, there was a crowd of people no matter where we were. Whether it was dinner, going to camp, the hotel, they knew where we were going to be at. And that was every single time we got off the bus. It was crazy I had never been a part of that.”
Heading to Asia was a step outside of LeVert’s comfort zone, as the 23-year-old had never tried sushi prior to his trip. But just like learning some Mandarin for the Nets’ Chinese New Year video, LeVert was game.
“I love traveling and I wanted to experience something like that. I’ve heard Jeremy was super popular over there, so I wanted to see it first-hand.”
“I know how to say thank you and how are you,” LeVert said of the words he’s picked up. “They remembered [the Chinese New Year video] and a Twitter video Jeremy had me do halfway through the year. They were excited to have me come over there for sure.”
After a week of running camps, meeting fans and getting Lin’s celebrity treatment, it might not be as rare to see a LeVert jersey floating around in Taipei.