Mr Lin’s Christianity is perhaps more awkward for China’s atheist communist rulers. While Beijing officially sanctions some churches, it frowns on the spontaneous professions of love for God that pepper Mr Lin’s postgame comments.
Evidence of how state censors would like to downplay his religion came in a CCTV news report when he was named a National Basketball Association player of the week on Monday.
“I love the fact that he gave praise to his team and to God,” said one New Yorker interviewed in English.
But the Chinese subtitles translated his comments simply as “I love him for praising his team”, scrubbing out the religious reference.
However, not all Chinese officials are shying away from Mr Lin. Cai Qi, a high-ranking Communist official in Zhejiang province, congratulated Mr Lin on his microblog on Sunday, and claimed him as Chinese. Mr Lin’s maternal grandmother, it seems, was from Pinghu, a small coastal town in Zhejiang.
The more I read about this, the more hope I have that this will be a good moment for Mainland Chinese Christians.