When Yao Ming retired from the NBA, China’s influence among the sport of Basketball began to wane substantially. That was, until Lin-sanity swept the league. Now everyone is talking about the former Harvard Star and Taiwanese native, who has carried the previously slumping New York Knicks to four straight wins with him starting at point guard.
The question everyone is asking is “can he keep this up?” Will Lin be able to put up these gaudy numbers on a nightly basis? Will he be able to adjust to the return of superstar Knick teammates Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony? Well after watching him drop 38 points on the Lakers (and burning Kobe) at Madison Square Garden the other night, I gotta say, Lin can ball. Just watch this replay:
好球！Great field vision, silky-smooth jumper and the guy can move on the court. Sure he’s no Rajon Rondo, but it’s nice to finally see a guard representing China ball. But how did Jeremy get from being cut by other NBA backup squads, to starting for the Knicks? Here’s the story of Lin’s unexpected rise into the NBA.
The Legend of Lin
Jeremy Shu-How Lin or 林書豪 (Lín Shūháo) was born on August 23, 1988. Lin grew up playing basketbal in Northern California. In his 2005-06 senior year, Lin captained Palo Alto High School to a 32–1 record and upset nationally ranked Mater Dei, 51–47, for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II state title.He was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year ending his senior year averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals.
After receiving no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and being undrafted out of college, the Harvard University graduate reached a partially guaranteed contract deal with his hometown Golden State Warriors.
But stuck in one of the NBA’s best back courts sharing time with superstar guards like Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, Lin’s chances to play were all but gone unless facing some garbage time at the end of games. Coaches tried to boost Lin’s confidence, creating a rule that “he could not be fouled in practice” so as to boost his confidence and “swagger”. It didn’t work out well and soon Lin was a free agent following the 2011 lockout.
The Knicks claimed Lin off of waivers in December of 2011, as a backup guard. Little attention was paid to Lin as super star players Stoudemire and Anthony dominated Knicks headlines. But then when the Knicks began losing (yay!) and Carmelo and Stoudemire imploded on their teams, it was time for a fresh breath of air on the court. Lin, not one to waste a golden opportunity, picked up the ball and ran with it. Since then he hasn’t looked back. Now he’s on the cover of ESPN, the talk of the twitter community and has been accepted as New York’s favorite son. Everyone loves an underdog story.
Time will tell if he can keep it up, but from this die-hard Celtic fan, I gotta say, ”加油，Jeremy”. Sometimes the best ballers are right under your nose, warming the bench, waiting for their chance to shine. Shine on, 朋友 and bring excitement and enthusiasm back to Chinese fans. With each win, the Lin-sanity grows.