Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jeremy Lin's Story Continues

Jeremy Lin Featured in Documentary
Jeremy Lin is an interesting man and NBA player.  His parents came from Taiwan to settle here in the United States where Jeremy and his two brothers were born.  His dad loves the game of basketball; it rubbed off on his kids.  Mom supported anything the kids did that was positive as long as they kept up on their grades.  Jeremy is a devout Christian and he thanks God for the good things in his life.  He does his best to cast off doubts and discouragement by falling back on his faith. 

The Lin's settled in Palo Alto and Jeremy became a basketball star in high school.  In his senior season, 2005–2006, Palo Alto soared to a 32–1 record and beat a powerful Mater Dei High School, 51–47, to win state in their division.  Although considered by many to be one of the best players in California, Lin did not get much scholarship attention going into college.  High academics, intelligence, and a superior work ethic made an impression on Harvard and he went out east without a scholarship. 

Lin was an excellent college basketball player and his height settled in at 6-foot-3.  The All Ivy League guard became one of the best all-around college players.  In fact, he was the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225).  Lin has great respect for his Taiwanese parents and their ancestors who go back to various parts of China, but he is very much an American.  Lin does not look like an NBA guard except when he is on the court.  And many people have misjudged his abilities based on his ethnicity.   He has had a rocky career and his play never seems to be appreciated any place for long. 

Un-drafted, Lin has struggled in the pro game since he was originally signed by the Golden State Warriors in 2010.  Playing in San Francisco with its large Asian-American population was marketing heaven and NBA hell for Lin.  Every time Linn got into a game, the home crowd would often erupt in applause, but it was a pressure cooker of a place to play.  Lin was not suitably prepared for NBA competition.  He was back and forth between the Warriors and their "D" League  team, the Reno Big Horns.  In the off-season, he improved his strength and skills that needed work.  Lin had always been  relentless at practice and preparation.  Yet, Golden State released him before his second season although he was much better prepared.  Lin was circling at a certain contract level in the NBA that is vulnerable.  Players at a certain depth on the squad can be signed and released very quickly.

The Houston Rockets picked up Lin in December 2011 and released him a few weeks later.  The New York Knicks picked him up, but were in no hurry to use him and it looked like he might get cut again.  Injuries and a horrid clutch of losing games helped get Lin some playing time in February 2012.  Lin played  like a super star and his blistering point production helped the Knicks crack-off 7 wins in a row.  He continued to run red hot, although he struggled with turnovers.  The term "Linsanity' was coined for Lin's fantastic play and later a Linsanity documentary with that title would be produced that covered his story.   In March, Lin injured his knee and surgery put an end to his season.  In New York minute, fans were treated to a phenomenal performance, but at season end, Lin was a restricted free agent.

Words cannot describe the incredible shots that Lin as able to make in all kinds of odd angles and positions for the Knicks.  In so many cases, he would be driving towards the basket, fouled and falling, but would somehow be able to toss the ball up at an odd angle and see it drop through the hoop.  He also dazzled the crowd with great passes and a determined super high energy play on every inch of the court.  Lin  also hit key "three pointers" and game-winners for the Knicks during his "Linsantiy" period. 

The Houston Rockets made a excellent bid for Lin's services that the Knicks failed to match.  Lin played hot and cold for the Rockets, suffered some injuries, and was traded to the Lakers in July 2014.  Many believe he has both the physical gifts and the work ethic to play very well for the right team.   Most believe that he has to settle down and play more composed.

Will the Lakers give him the opportunity he needs?  He needs to reduce his turnovers and improve his foul shooting.  But, he also needs to feel secure for an extended time and he needs a long-term home base--things not necessarily readily available to NBA players.  Analysts suggest that Lin has been trying to recreate his magic NY moments, but that bar is a little too high.  They believe that he has repeatedly put too much pressure on himself and when he does, it actually hurts his play. Most players suggest that when Lin's confidence is up, he is hard to stop.

Best of luck, Jeremy Lin.

Copyright 2014, Sporting Chance Press

This post was created for our next Sports and Faith book by Patrick McCaskey, due out later this year. Our goal at Sporting Chance Press is to provide entertaining books that can give readers a lift in sports and in life. We publish books that give readers insight into the hero within each of us. When sport is at its best, there is a payoff constantly taking shape – a payoff "at work." We are improving—whether it is building self esteem, improving health, developing strong social skills, or learning the habit of achievement. There is a discipline needed in preparing for sports contests and life contests. Getting our bodies and minds in shape for the competition is critical. If we can approach sports training and life with enthusiasm, the contest is pure joy. If we can approach sport and life with passion and not pressure, we can achieve and release that fearless hero within.