Tonight is an intriguing matchup as the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, led by All-Stars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, face off against the surging New York Knicks, led by Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and the phenom Jeremy Lin. Speaking of Jeremy Lin, for the past two and half weeks, the world of sports has been engulfed by the rise of Linsanity. Jeremy Lin, a Harvard grad and Asian American, literally came out of nowhere to somehow save the Knicks’ season. To reflect on this incredible and improbable run, we need to take a step back on how this journey to stardom began.
Lin was born in Los Angeles, California by Tawainese immigrant parents. In Palo Alto High School, he stood out as he became All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year. However, despite his success, he did not receive any scholarship offers, even from his dream schools, Stanford and UCLA. Therefore, he went to Harvard and became an Ivy League sensation. Unfortunately, his success at Harvard (in which one of his highlights was a 30 point game against number 12 UConn in his senior year) did not translate into being in the NBA Draft. He was given small offers from teams after his impressive summer league experience, such as the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he eventually signed with the Golden State Warriors and played off the bench for a year. He did turn heads despite his limited playing time.
After the season, he was waived by the Warriors. He then signed with the Houston Rockets, who would eventually waive him before the 2011-2012 NBA season. Then, the New York Knicks claimed him off waivers. On February 4, after months of frustration, the Knicks gave Lin a chance to play against the New Jersey Nets. He outplayed All-Star Deron Williams, scoring 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in a huge victory. Before that, he was almost waived, again. After the game, he was promoted to the starting role and eventually got a guaranteed contract. He is now leading the revitalized New York Knicks to a 9-2 record since he came off the bench against the Nets.
Personally, this is an incredible story of heart, determination, and overcoming the odds. As an Asian American, myself, it’s good to hear that a minority is succeeding in professional sports, especially in a sport where skill makes or breaks a professional athlete. I hope there are other minorities that will follow Jeremy Lin’s example.