Jeremy Lin: Beyond the Puns
Currently the New York Knicks are in the midst of a maelstrom with their new superstar, Jeremy Lin. It’s been “Linsanity”, “Lincredible”, and my personal favourite “Linfinity and Beyond”. But, when we put away all of the schlocky puns we’re left with a rising superstar with little to no real identity. The real question everyone should be asking themselves is whether or not this kid is for real.
Before we can answer the question at hand, we need to look into who our subject really is. Lin is a Californian (born and raised) descends from a Taiwanese background, which has given him the distinct honour of being the first Asian NBA player of Chinese/Taiwanese heritage. While Lin captained his high school basketball team to a championship, he still had to fight to get onto a University level team – he eventually settled on Harvard (worthy of note, only two schools offered him a variety position). After graduation Lin went undrafted and was eventually picked up by the Warriors, only to be released on waivers and later to be picked up by the Knicks.
Fast forward a bit, okay, a lot, to his last eight games where Lin has been averaging more than 20 points per game – not only that, but he’s also been pulling in approximately seven assists and a steal. Not too bad for a kid that was released on waivers.
People are already saying that the Warriors releasing Lin on waivers was the worst decision in NBA history. Maybe. Maybe not. Lin is a riding a publicity tidal wave right now, which is likely to help bolster confidence and keep the momentum going. The question is: how well will he be able to recover from his first massive failure?
Young players who show signs of brilliance often get stormed with a barrage of media coverage, because everyone is eager to see the next Jordan, or Gretzky, or Rice. We watched it happen with Tim Tebow in the NFL this past season – he got off to a hot start behind the helm, had some failure and struggled to recover; fortunately he managed to comeback and put on a solid post-season performance. This being said, when we look back at the example of former NHL superstar goalie Jim Carey (1996 All-star, 1996 All-rookie, 1996 Vezina Trophy winner) we see a player who had the brightest future and was given all the opportunities, but crapped the bed after the lustre wore off.
The question that we’re left with is, “Will Jeremy Lin be another casualty?”, or is he breaking out into the big time? My gut right now tells me the former.
Looking back to Lin’s past, he’s shown signs of discipline in his personal life (re: Ivy league grad, patience in his early basketball career, etc…), and he is putting up solid all-around performances (he’s been consistent more than anything – not phenomenal). He has demanded the ball late in games, and delivered. Raptors fans saw the dagger he threw them last week. Someone of Lin’s pedigree doesn’t seem to be the type to be rattled by one shaky early-career performance. Truthfully, we won’t know until he stumbles. We’ll just have to watch and see for now. Either way, grab the Orville Reddenbocker.
… and that is the last word.