By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
I’m not a fan of the NBA. I used to be, but that was long ago. I can’t tell you the last time I watched an NBA game from start to finish.
Even though I don’t religiously follow the league, I still keep tabs on it by watching ESPN’s Sports Center. That’s why even I know of this thing called “Linmania” that’s sweeping the sports world.
Jeremy Lin has been the talk of the town for the past couple of weeks, and for good reason. Lin plays for the New York Knicks in the most famous arena in sports, Madison Square Garden. But not many people, NBA fans or not, even heard of Lin before he got into a game against the New Jersey Nets on February 4.
Since that time, it’s been “Lintastic” for the Knicks, and hey, New York fans deserve something to cheer about considering how lousy their franchise has been over the past few years.
In fact, had the Knicks not been playing so poorly, Lin probably wouldn’t have gotten in and New York was even considering releasing him before his contract became guaranteed on Feb. 10. Instead, Lin scored 25 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out seven assists in a 99-92 win over the Nets.
Over the next four games, which the Knicks all won, he averaged 27.3 points, 8.3 assists and two steals. During that span he even outscored Kobe Bryant, 38-34, in New York’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not too bad considering a) he received no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and b) he was undrafted out of college, this despite being the Player of the Year in California his senior season (2005-06). Most colleges wanted him to walk on, and only Harvard and Brown guaranteed him a spot on their teams, but Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarships.
At first, even then-Harvard assistant coach Bill Holden said that Lin was a “Division III player.” But he changed his mind soon afterwards when he saw Lin compete in a very competitive game, and Lin chose to attend Harvard. His skill, plus his 4.2 GPA, fit Harvard’s academic standards.
After not being drafted, eight teams invited him to predraft workouts. He joined the Dallas Mavericks for mini-camp as well as their NBA Summer League team. From there he signed with the Golden State Warriors before landing with the Knicks.
I love seeing a story like this. Of course, the hoopla will die down soon, but for now, let’s all climb aboard the Lin Express and enjoy the ride. It’s nice to have a good story come out of the NBA.
And this just goes to prove that, if you want anything bad enough, you can make it happen.