By RICHARD S. CHANG
Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks’ breakout point guard, shared a podium with executives from Volvo Cars in Manhattan on Monday afternoon to announce a two-year marketing partnership.
The deal is the first major sponsorship for Lin since he came off the end of the bench in February and put together a string of spectacular performances that made New Yorkers dream of a playoff spot.
According to Richard Monturo, Volvo’s vice president of marketing, Lin will appear in Volvo advertising in the United States and China, as well as other Chinese-speaking countries in Asia.
The Swedish brand is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, but was bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese company, two years ago. Signing Lin is clearly an effort to raise Volvo’s profile among the growing upper middle class in Geely’s home country.
Mr. Monturo noted that Lin was the most-searched athlete on the Internet in China, eclipsing Kobe Bryant and the soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lin said at the conference that he chose Volvo for the brand’s “high quality” and “affordable price” and for its “continued progress.” Such qualities could be used to describe Lin, who is making the NBA minimum salary of around $800,000 and averaging 14.7 points per game.
“I don’t really have a car in the city right now,” Lin said. “If you want to know, I’m leaning toward the S60 and S80.”