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“Linsanity” came when Lin stopped trying to play for others

Feb 13, 2012, 5:23 PM EDT

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin shakes hands with MInnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love before game Reuters

Just go out and play. Let God and the universe take care of the rest of it.

That is the battle Jeremy Lin says he fights daily now — not trying to live up to the expectations of others, not trying to control everything, but just going out and playing basketball. Lin — a devoutly religious man who has talked of becoming a minister after basketball — said he wants to turn everything else over to God and not worry about it. Whether you are Christian or Buddhist or anything else, not worrying about the physical is a hard.

But Lin says that is what has gotten him to where he is now.

Lin talked about all of this in a fascinating interview with Marcus Thompson II at the Mercury News in the Bay Area (where Lin grew up and played his rookie year).

“Sometimes you come up against a mountain and you end up making the mountain seem bigger than God,” Lin said. “Last year, I was on pins and needles. I was putting all this unnecessary pressure on myself. Now, I feel like I’m free out there….

“I’m not playing to prove anything to anybody,” Lin said. “That affected my game last year and my joy last year. With all the media attention, all the love from the fans (in the Bay Area), I felt I needed to prove myself. Prove that I’m not a marketing tool, I’m not a ploy to improve attendance. Prove I can play in this league. But I’ve surrendered that to God. I’m not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore.”

What nearly everybody else thinks is that he’s the newest star of the NBA. It’s a story that resonates, certainly with Christians in the way the Tim Tebow story did (and Lin says Tebow is an inspiration).

But right now in America he resonates as a person kicked around by the system who did not give up, found his place and turned both his career and a franchise around. This is a nation suffering through the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression and in that we are drawn to the stories of guys who do not give up, who overcome adversity.

Last season Lin was not this good with the Warriors. He shot 38.9 percent (it is 49.6 percent this year), he assisted on about 20 percent of his teammates baskets when he was on the floor, and his PER was an average 14.8 in limited minutes. This season 47.7 percent of his teammates baskets when he is on the floor and has an All-Star level PER of 25.9.

The Warriors let Lin go because they needed his salary to make a big offer to DeAndre Jordan (one the Clippers matched). The Rockets took him in but had two quality point guards (Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic) then they let him go when they needed his salary to make a big offer to Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks got him and sent him to the D-League (where he dropped a triple double). According to the Mercury News, Lin got his first real shot against the Nets one night because Carmelo Anthony told Mike D’Antoni to give him a shot.

And it worked, Linsanity was suddenly born out of nowhere. Why? Because he just started going out and playing, not worrying about everything else. Now he just wants to keep that going.

“It’s a platform I’ve been given,” Lin said. “I want to be real. I don’t want to have a false image. I want people to see who I am and what God has done in my life.

“If people don’t like me or are waiting for me to fail, that’s on them. I don’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to be overbearing. But I’ve got to be who I am.”

  1. raidmagic - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I’m a big fan of this guy and his story but you guys are going to make everyone hate him with every other story being about him. Damn this is becoming a written version of sportscenter. Can we have 60 more tebow stories?

    • tomshoe - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      “Can we have 60 more Tebow stories?”

      No.

  2. lookatthefarside - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    In Lin We Trust.

  3. slopmcflop - Feb 13, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    This site doesn’t have some big evil dude hovering over you, mashing your fingers on the mouse to force you to open certain links, and prying your eyes open, forcing you to read the article.

    See something related to “Lin” in the title, and you don’t want to read it? Well then, don’t click the link.

    Same goes to all you complaining about LeBron/Heat/Lakers/Knicks, blah blah blah whatever else you all feel like whining about that day.

  4. ummnah - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Dont get me wrong i think he’s a good story, but i wish we could just fast forward to March 12 when the knicks go to Chicago. A healthy Derrick Rose will put all the Lin talk aside.

  5. ufullpj - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    It’s a great story and I’m happy for the kid – but let’s be real. If he’s doing this a team other than NY, Boston, Chicago, Miami, or LA, would we be hearing as much about it? Hell no. If he’s playing for Portland, Sacramento, Utah, Denver, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indiana, etc. – you know, the places ESPN never seems to go – we’re not hearing anything about him.

    Again, kudos for him for working so damn hard and earning his opportunity to stick, I think it’s great….but the sensationalistic national media outlets need to chill out.

  6. zblott - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    The stats make it clear that Lin’s positive effect on the Knicks’ success won’t last:

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2012/2/14/what-the-statistics-tell-us-about-jeremy-lins-eventual-fall.html

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