Ever heard of Jeremy Lin? Well, he’s a humble Asian-American Harvard graduate with a Bachelor of Economics. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he’s also now the star point guard of the NBA franchise the New York Knicks. He is now a hero in the world-renowed Madison Square Garden in what is becoming one of the greatest stories in sports today.
As a scrawny, 5ft3, 55kg freshman he was called to the varsity team of his high school, much to the worries of a few schoolmates due to his size. However, he proved himself playing very well as their point guard.
“I first met Jeremy when he was in fifth grade, coming to basketball camp in the summer. Obviously he was very, very small, but a very good player—very good instincts, very good feel—and his leadership stuck out,” his high school coach Peter Diepenbrock said.
Lin led his high school team in Palo Alto, California to the state title. He was All-State first team and player of the year in Division 2 for Northern California. Yet, no Division 1 basketball programs gave him a college scholarship. So, he went to Harvard who gave him a spot on the team (Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships).
Whilst at Harvard, being the only Asian-American in the roster, Lin was the brunt of many racist epithets. He was also the first player in Ivy league history to record at least 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals. He graduated in Economics with a 3.1 GPA.
Lin again was undermined, this time by the teams of the NBA who disregarded his collegiate successes. Jeremy Lin was undrafted in the 2010 NBA draft. The Dallas Mavericks saw his talent and gave him a shot in their summer league team, but he was dropped. The Golden State Warriors then signed Lin as a free agent and he finally had a chance to play in the NBA. However, after just over a season and hardly any game time, he was waived by the Warriors. The Houston Rockets picked him up but dropped him again only two weeks after.
“There were nights where, I was just…actually was just reduced to tears,” Lin said, “I just couldn’t take it anymore. What really hurt was that I thought I had the ability to do it.”
Then the Big Apple came knocking at Lin’s door. The New York Knicks gave him a spot on their roster. However, he was not guaranteed a permanent contract, so with this insecurity, he was reluctant to buy an apartment and slept on his brother’s couch, then his teammate’s couch. He spent most of the time on the bench for the Knicks, getting little to no game time at all.
On the night of February 4, 2012 the New Jersey Nets visited the Madison Square Garden. With the Knicks’ offense looking sluggish, an unheard of Harvard graduate, stood on the sideline ready to give one last shot to impress his club.
“I’m going to go out there and play my brand of basketball. I’m not going to change anything and if it doesn’t get me where I want to go then I can live with that,” was what Lin was saying to himself that night. “But one thing I know is if I go down, I’m going to go down fighting.”
Lo behold, Linsanity was born. New York was looking for a player like this to rejuvenate them and he did not disappoint. His fighting spirit showed as he cut through the defense of the Nets, grabbing assist after assist, basket after basket, finishing with 25 points, leading the Knicks to a rare win.
The humble Harvard-grad couldn’t even come to grips with what happened that night.
“This night, it just hasn’t really sunk in yet to be honest,” the Knicks’ number 17 said. “It’s like I’m still kind of in shock about everything that happened but I’m just trying to soak it all in right now.”
People who thought the first game was a fluke, were soon to be proven wrong. The 6ft3, 200 pound player finished the game with 28 points and 8 assists, leading the New York outfit to a second straight win.
If that wasn’t brilliant enough, nobody could have predicted what happened next.
Facing off against the legendary Los Angeles Lakers, and star guard Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin was the starting point guard for the Knicks at home. Signs where Lin’s name was integrated into every cliche in the book such as, ‘I gotta feeLIN’ and ‘All I want to do is LIN LIN LIN’, filled the Madison Square Garden. Everyone was watching to see if this brilliant streak would continue.
Jeremy Lin just couldn’t be stopped that night, bagging 38 points (the most any Knicks player has scored this season) and seven assists with every basket sending the crowd and his teammates into a frenzy. The New York faithful were practically worshipping the new kid on the block, and Lin was enjoying every minute of if.
“You can fall as fast as you rise, that’s just the reality of the situation. I just want to make sure that I’m not doing a disservice to my team my milking all the attention and trying to be on the cover of everything because at the end of the day that’s not what I love. I love basketball, that’s my passion.”
Since Linsanity began, Lin has lead the Knicks to nine wins out of eleven games, scoring 263 points and bagging 101 assists. He went from absolutely nothing, to a hero. He’s providing an inspiration to all Asian-American kids out there aspiring to become athletes only to fall short due to certain stereotypes. But Lin does not only represent the Asian-American community, he represents all underdogs out there in this world. People can relate to him. That’s what is so great about his story…about Linsanity. This is the reason that we love sports.