Since I am an old Knick fan (not currently, I now root for the 76ers), I am fascinated by the emergence of this young man, 23 years old and a Harvard graduate. Jeremy Lin is a rags to riches story like no other in a very long time. He seems to be a clean cut kid with a drive and ambition to be a successful basketball player. There are many players in the NBA who have the same skills as he does, but not with the determination and verve.
I believe that there have been just a few players in my memory who have had such an effect on a team by just joining them on the floor. I believe that Lin is comparable to Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich and Magic Johnson. I know that he has already been compared to John Stockton and Steve Nash. If you see him play, you become excited, even if you are rooting against him. That happened in Toronto when the crowd went wild for Lin’s moves. After the Knicks beat the Mavs, Jason Kidd, who guarded Lin throughout the game, came over and gave him a hug. So have other ballplayers from other teams.
So what’s the big deal with this young man? He is a novelty, not just because of his race. He seems to understand where he is and understands the struggles he has been through since he was a five foot three inch 9th grader trying out for the high school teams. He seems to respect the game that he is playing. He seems to really enjoy making a great pass. He appears to be as proud of his assists, as he is of the other parts of his game. He has even begun to improve on the defensive end of the court.
He is also aware that he is really a rookie and pays homage to all of the other people on his team. In an interview today, he said something that smacks of the many ethnics that have come over to this country. As people came over to this country their families who had been here a while were told to “fit in.” Lin said that when he was with the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, he was trying to “fit in.”
When he got a chance with the Knicks a few weeks ago, he decided to be himself, with all the skills and warts that he had. He still gives the ball away too much, but he adds so much to the team. His energy, his constant looking for a way to score, pass off, even rebound, his resilience when people hit him, bespeaks of an inner strength. Do I believe that all of this publicity will hurt him? No I don’t. There is something real about Jeremy Lin that will win out in the end.



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