Three months ago, dropping the name “Jeremy Lin” probably would have gotten you nothing but blank stares. Even die-hard fans of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise probably wouldn’t have known the name; sure, Lin was on the roster, but the un-drafted player spent most of his first NBA season riding the pine.

Lin wasn’t known as a superstar, until he stepped on the boards with the New York Knicks in early 2012. Suddenly, a player that no one wanted was the center of everyone’s attention, even those who had never previously watched basketball. Seemingly overnight, Jeremy Lin was a household name.

That explosion in recognition never could have occurred in the days before social media, and Lin may well be the first superstar athlete who owes his success both to hard work and to the power of Twitter. That fits in well with automaker Volvo, which plans to grow its business by relying heavily on social media and digital advertising.

Thus, a marketing match is created, and Automotive News (subscription required) is reporting that Jeremy Lin has signed a global endorsement deal with Volvo Cars. Per Volvo, Lin is “expected to help in the marketing efforts of Volvo in several international markets,” as well as helping Volvo make inroads with “younger and performance-oriented customers.”

Lin, who was born in the United States to Taiwanese immigrant parents, is expected to be the focus of Volvo’s efforts in China, where the brand sold some 47,000 cars in 2011. He is reportedly fluent in Mandarin, and has turned down offers to play for the Chinese Taipei men's national basketball team in International Basketball Federation competition.

More important to Volvo than Lin’s heritage is his Twitter feed, which has over 664,000 followers across the globe. Per Volvo’s marketing strategy, that’s a lot of prospective Volvo buyers.

Image credit: flickr user nikk_la, CC2.0