‘Linsanity’ has a great story behind it
He’s captured the hearts of sports fans, had a number of catchy clichés created for him and led his team back to relevance in the 2011-12 NBA season.
But as fun as “Linsanity” has been to follow, Jeremy Lin’s journey of getting to this point is just as intriguing simply because of how many obstacles the New York Knicks’ point guard has overcome since high school.
Raised in Palo Alto, Calif., Lin’s dream was to play college basketball at either Stanford University or UCLA. But neither school was willing to offer Lin a scholarship, instead preferring he walk on.
Lin would ultimately end up at Harvard University, which guaranteed him a spot on the team’s roster. Even though Harvard doesn’t offer athletic scholarships, Lin’s 4.2 grade point average allowed him the chance to attend one of the country’s premier Ivy League schools.
Despite some impressive numbers in his college career, Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors as an undrafted free agent, but Lin was waived during the 2011 offseason. He was picked up by Houston initially, but then waived again before the Knicks claimed Lin off waivers Dec. 27.
Lin was very close to getting cut Feb. 10 before his contract became guaranteed, but Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni gave Lin a chance against the New Jersey Jets Feb. 4.
The rest is history. Lin scored 25 points, tallied seven assists and pulled in five rebounds in a 99-92 Knicks win. In 12 starts before the All-Star break, Lin averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists. Prior to him starting, the Knicks were 8-15. Since he’s been starting, they are 10-3 and are now just 3.5 games behind in the Atlantic Division.
The admirable thing about Lin’s story is not only did he seemingly come out of nowhere to completely revitalize the Knicks, but there were many instances where it was probably very tempting to quit. But Lin didn’t quit, and now he’s a cultural icon.
Lin’s story serves as an example to any athlete that might be frustrated about his or her athletic career. It isn’t easy riding the bench, and for that upperclassman that has played sparingly and never started, self-doubt and frustration can begin to set in.
But despite Lin being passed over by his two dream colleges and the Warriors — his favorite team growing up — he stuck it out. No matter the sport, you can only wonder how many other athletes are out there waiting to burst on the scene, who only need to do one thing in order to break out: not quit.
The next chapter in Lin’s story is how he handles success. Lin is a devout Christian, and he would do well to study the story of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. Time and again, Israel rose from the depths of despair to the highest of plateaus, but the nation never could seem to maintain success before eventually crashing and burning.
How Lin handles success will determine if he’s just a flash in the pan or an NBA mainstay. Let’s hope the next part of his journey is as “Lincredible” as it’s been up to this point.