Tuesday, February 14th, 2012...8:56 am
Like you and everyone else in NYC, I am in love with Jeremy Lin. Sometimes love can be baffling. By baffling I mean how the f**k is this happening?
By now you should know just about everything about Jeremy Lin. If not, please go find some other mediocre gonzo blog to read.
I was at a sold out MSG a few weeks ago to see the Knicks play the Bulls. It was a thrilling game in which Derrick Rose was absolutely sensational. Melo missed a three at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. It felt as though the Knicks season was slipping away. In hindsight/enlightenment my most memorable moment came at halftime shoot around. I happened to zone in on Jeremy Lin as he missed about a dozen three pointers in a row. I’ve been following Lin since he played in college (I am Littyhoops after all) because of his unique background. But I turned to my buddy Kosh (we paid for our tix this time) and told him that evidently Lin actually sucks balls. At that time, he had never been anything but a decent college player who was lucky to be a 12th man in the NBA. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one noticing how many shots he had missed during warm-ups as the Knicks were reportedly on the verge of releasing him. Thank god they didn’t.
Since then, Jeremy Lin has rejuvenated his team, invigorated a city, exhilarated the Orient and captured the attention of the world. His jersey sales are hotter than than this week’s SI Swimsuit issue. He’s basically starring in his own Disney movie. The movie where the kid meets a genie and all of his wildest dreams come true. It’s called Kazaam, duh!
We’re all trying to comprehend how Lin can go from ultimate nerdy bench warmer to the best point guard in the NBA. I have yet to hear one explanation that makes sense (kind of Like LOST season 4). Coach Mike D’Antoni is just as amazed as we are and remarks “I have never seen this. It’s not often that a guy is going to play four games, the best you are going to see, and nobody knows who he is”. There is an argument that there’s never been a smart Asian dude in the NBA so there was nobody to compare him too. That’s BS. Another point guard sensation, Ricky Rubio, can’t really be compared to anyone but a Catalonian Ringo Star and he was one of the top prospects in the world.
I’ve spent most of my free time thinking about Jeremy Lin over the past week. Instead of coming up with plausible answers, I do what we all are doing and take the easy way out by just adding the letter “L” to any word that starts with an “I”, has its second letter as an “I” or rhymes with Lin. Might as well be called “LIN with Friends”. The one that is stuck in my head is Lindemonium or that my moms name, LINda, is now so much cooler.
It’s fascinating to watch Lin get interviewed. He readily admits he has no idea how this is happening. He confesses that he is living his dream. He is humble about his success yet confident in his ability to play basketball (he’s been doing it all his life). He dutifully answers the questions about couch surfing. He thanks god often. It’s almost like he’s one of us (his linsane fans) giddily watching himself turn into an overnight superstar.
By the way I, for one, have no problem with athletes thanking god. I’m not sure how we turned into a society that mocks an individual for turning to the heavens to help understand the unexplainable. If you’re being interviewed on television for accomplishing something amazing there’s a good chance that there’s more to it than hard work. “Hard Work” is what get’s an illegal immigrant a steady yard job or an over-achieving rich kid from Great Neck into an Ivy League school — unless he outsources his SAT’s of course. One of my favorite journalists Joel Stein recently wrote about the relationship between super bowl teams and prayer. Stein, the wittiest of satirists, get serious in his article and concludes that “when players thank God at the end of a game, they’re not saying God liked their team better. They’re actually being modest, saying they realize how small a part they played and expressing gratitude–just as they would for a meal, their health or a Friday.”
Anyway, back to Lin. I’d just like to thank the lord and savior for bringing him to the Knicks.
Will it last? My guess is that it won’t in this form. Part of the reason Lin’s star shined so bright was because the Knicks two legitimate offensive players were both out of commission. Somebody needed to shoot the ball and Lin conveniently had the hot hand and ran with the baton. I don’t think he gets his 20 shots per game. If you watched him miss most of his shots in the second half against the T-Wolves you might be able to envision how he might not be the second coming.
Every team in the NBA has a few players that are so naturally talented, that if they are the focal point of the team, and can get their 20 shots per game, they would score. My associate Mike James likes to share that he’s the only undrafted player in the NBA to ever average 20 points per game in a season. James got an opportunity in Toronto to be the go-to-guy after Chris Bosh got hurt for the season. Mike has such great confidence in himself that he was able to be the man and stepped right into the starring role. I wonder how many professional athletes could be stars but never are? What separates those that make it from those that don’t? Is the “star” just a role just like utility guy, defensive specialist and pinch hitter?
I watched the Knick game at the bar on Saturday night with a bunch of fans that were also being raped by Time Warner. Part cable support group, part fan club we hooted and hollered as the Knicks came from behind to beat the T-Wolves. We were all on the same team rooting together like old friends. It’s a feeling you don’t get in NYC that often. I then met a girl later that night and somehow Lin came up (who wasn’t talking about him this weekend). She wasn’t a sports fan but said “isn’t it great how he brings the whole city together”. “Yes”, I said to the unnamed girl to be mentioned in my blog who I will never see again, “it is great!”
The moral of the story here is that Jeremy Lin once again reminds me why I love sports. It’s the best reality television in the entire world. It’s way better than the Kardashians if the Kardashians were real.
My favorite Lin tidbit to be uncovered this week is the discovery of a Xanga blog post that Lin published when he was 15. Lin basically imitates how different NBA players wear their headbands including Josh Howard’s “jewish style”. Here’s the post.