As a loyal fan of Jeremy Lin since the Linsanity days, I have become used to the ups and downs that he has gone through in his career. It feels like I have traveled on his journey with him. Linsanity is the highlight of Lin’s career thus far, but it was a difficult road until that point. It appeared for certain that his future was bright after a great stretch with the Knicks, but things quickly went south after the season. The Knicks did not match the “poison pill” contract that was offered to Lin as a restricted free agent by the Rockets, so he made his way to Houston on a three-year, $25 million contract. It was rather insulting that he was not even offered a contract by the Knicks. As disappointing as it was to see Lin leave the Knicks, I was hopeful and optimistic that he could be a key player with the Rockets. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
More disappointment followed afterwards, but Lin never publicly expressed his displeasure towards any team or management. The phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” suits Lin well, and he has matured both as a player and person due to the trials he has faced. There is no question that his faith in God and the support of his family have been a source of strength throughout his time in the NBA. Lin has always been a private person, but he seems to be opening up more now. This was evident by a recent interview he did in China for CCTV-5’s NBA Frontline Primetime. This change is refreshing because there were numerous times in the past when I thought that he could have been more vocal about his circumstances and how he was unfairly treated. It is safe to say that many other Lin fans were frustrated as well, and I was happy that his interview with CCTV revealed a lot about him. Also, it could be that Lin felt at ease with the Chinese media and perhaps felt that he had more freedom to be honest than with interviews in English.
Nothing has come easy for Lin in his career, and he said he was not sure that he would even make the NBA during the interview. He stated, “When I first got to Harvard, a lot of students didn’t even know we had a basketball team.” His parents were always supportive and they told him, “If you love basketball this much, then keep playing.” For his senior year, he said “I didn’t apply for any job, no interviews, nothing… only enter the NBA draft.” As an Asian-American basketball player, Lin already had the odds against him, and the scenario played out in the NBA when he worked out for teams. He stated, “The entire NBA combine, John Wall and I were the fastest/quickest. They had the measurements. They saw that I was an Asian, (they said) Oh, he must be able to shoot, but he has no athleticism. So I would get mad back then.
I remember how upset I got at the time when the media as well as many basketball fans dismissed Lin’s athletic ability. This perception is still present even though he is entering his seventh season in the league. For the life of me, I just don’t see how Lin could be considered non-athletic when you see him regularly blow by guys on his drives to the basket. He can even stay with quick guards on defense and block shots. Stereotypes die hard, unfortunately, and this is an ignorant statement from his haters. Lin will turn a lot of heads with his play and have a breakout season since he will now have freedom to play his game.