February 11, 2012
I'll be honest, I had forgotten Jeremy Lin's existence. I think I can be forgiven for that. He came out of nowhere this week to create an uproar that would make Tim Tebow look like a third-string quarterback, and I'm right on the bandwagon with everyone else.
When others around him went down to injury or tragic personal affairs to tend to, Lin stepped up — and stepped up big.
In a week's span, Lin averaged 28.5 points, 8 assists, 3.75 rebounds and 1.75 steals — and shot more than 50 percent from the field in those games. He even bested Kobe and Lakers with an impressive performance at the Garden: 13-of-22 shooting and a career-high 38 points.
You don't see guys shooting the lights out like that and putting up the numbers like Lin has done. I'm than impressed with his ability to take the perimeter shots, but also to take it to the cup and draw contact. He's pretty quick, too — ask John Wall — and has the potential to break out into a superstar, with a unique skill set not many 23-year-old point guards have.
People will say this is a surge of power that will never sustain an entire career, but mid-Major hoops gurus like me may recall Lin led Harvard, helping that program become as good as it is right now. He's definitely talented enough to do it.
But, whether or not it works out for him, he's an example of what makes sports great.
Lin, a Palo Alto, Calif. native, never got a single Division I athletic scholarship offer, instead he used his grades to get into Harvard. After college, he didn't get drafted, but ended up with the Warriors. After floating around, he ended up in New York as essentially the last man on the team. Lin, who had no idea last week if he'd have a permanent spot in New York, has been putting up these insane numbers, but still lives on a couch in his brother's apartment for the time-being.
He's been overlooked as a basketball player ever since high school, but now has the stage and is showing that anything is possible when you're given a chance. And while that flame could burn out next week, I think it's going to be hard to root against someone who has had to work so hard to even get any playing time in upper-level hoops.
So let the Linsanity begin.