Leading the Kincks to another win Saturday night against the Timberwolves, Jeremy Lin has literally come out of nowhere to take a roster of castaways on a five game winning streak that has defied all logic. Just one week ago, not many people had heard of him. That all changed when he was forced into a starting role.
Since his first start, a 25 point, 7 assist, 5 rebound gem against the Nets, Lin has made an immediate impact on the Knicks and the NBA. It wasn’t until his 38 point, 7 assist coming out party against the Lakers on national TV Friday night that everyone started to take notice of him. Now we all know who he is, even Kobe Bryant.
Lin makes game winner against Timberwolves on Saturday night
Lin is the first Asian-American player in the NBA since 1947. He comes from Harvard, a school that has produced more U.S. presidents (8) than NBA players (3). Two years ago, the New York Times published an article focusing on Lin and two others not because they were highly touted draft prospects, but because they were Ivy Leaguers invited to a pre-draft invitational tournament.
“I guess I have to prove to myself whether I have a shot or not,” Lin said in the article. “Right now, I’m just trying to take this all in and not put too much pressure on myself.”
Lin wasn’t even sure he had much of a shot. He was just going along for the ride so he could avoid entering the corporate world for as long as possible while “playing for a team sponsored by a water sealant company.”
In December alone, Lin was released by both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets and spent time in the NBA D-League. His Knicks contract – a relative bargain at $800,000 – originally wasn’t guaranteed, it now is. He sleeps on his brother’s couch; his brother is a dental student at NYU.
He scored 18 points in the first half against the Lakers and told ESPN’s Lisa Salter’s he wasn’t happy with his performance and was going to watch game film. She asked, incredulously, “Now?” He finished with 38 points.
His humility comes from his strong Christian faith, which he also attributes to the inner strength he needed to summon to reach this point. He often quotes bible passages, thanks God for the opportunity to be in the NBA, and comes across as a genuinely likeable guy.
When ESPN originally reported the Knicks acquired Lin, the article noted that the Knicks had until February 10 to waive him. His start against the Nets came on February 4 and now a day after that deadline, he is a household name. His Knicks jersey went on sale online today.
A poll on NBA.com asked "Will Jeremy Lin and the Knicks (12-15, 9th in East) make the playoffs? Over 82,000 people – and 87% majority – have voted yes so far. On the back of his faith, Knicks fans have something they haven’t had in a long time: hope.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons