The NBA is finally set to tip off on Christmas
As the game clock expired at Madison Square Garden on Friday night the New York Knicks celebrated their fourth straight victory, lifting their record to 12-15 on the season. Their latest victim was the Los Angeles Lakers despite a 34 point, 10 rebound effort from Kobe Bryant and the hero of the night was Jeremy Lin. The crowd was littered with number 17 Knicks’ jerseys, Lin’s name was being chanted as “M-V-P” and a couple of over-zealous courtside patrons were wearing masks resembling Jeremy Lin’s face. To top it off, a member of the crowd was seen holding up a sign stating that Jeremy Lin is the “Yellow Mamba”.
I’m still not even sure if that sign is racist or not, all I know is that Madison Square Garden was transformed into Lin’s own personal playground on this night. The love he is receiving right now from all over the world is quite captivating, yet with all this new found attention, Lin handles himself with humility, poise and always references the hard work of his teammates… individually.
We’ve all heard the standard interview banter from athletes such as:-
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and I was able to knock down some shots“. (Yawn!)
“We just need to lift our intensity… and rebound“. (Sigh!)
The humble honesty and innocence of Jeremy Lin is really great to watch for all sports fans. While being interviewed at half time he demanded more of himself by admitting he wasn’t finding his big man Tyson Chandler enough. When the reporter tried to lure him back to talk about himself, he immediately deflected the attention back to his teammates. Again after the game, with media members prompting Lin to talk about his own experience, he commented on how hard Jared Jeffries was working on rebounding the ball.
Refreshing behaviour to say the least.
It was as recent as December 9th last year that Lin was waived by the Golden State Warriors. Three days later he signed with the Houston Rockets before being waived again not long after. Lin signed with the New York Knicks on December 27th, sleeping on a teammate’s couch in the early going as his contract was non-guaranteed. Playing more than six minutes only one time in his first nine games wasn’t exactly national news but over the past four games Lin has placed himself on the back page of every New York newspaper.
His contract is now guaranteed and Lin has put himself in the best possible position after some significant setbacks. Who knows how the rotation will be affected with the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony?
Sharing a birthday with Kobe Bryant (August 23) is one thing but sharing a “star comparison” graphic on a nationally televised game is something else entirely.
Lin finished his broadway show against the Lakers with stat line of 38 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes.
If Jeremy Lin was somehow able to read this article the day he got cut by the Houston Rockets, there is no way he would have believed it to be possible. This is “alternate universe” territory and things are looking up for both him and the New York Knicks. Basketball fans all over the world look forward to seeing what Lin can do next and I’ll be glued to the TV with them.
There’s a lot to be said about taking advantage of opportunity and Jeremy Lin is saying all of it with his play over the past four games. In extra special fashion, he is handling his new-found fame with the humility of a champion, no matter what happens next.