Jeremy Lin: A True Underdog Story
A grocery bagger and former Arena Football player named Kurt Warner. A pudgy, 20-year-old Mexican who won and pitched in all 72 innings in the first eight games he played named Fernando Venezuela. An Asian American, Ivy League nobody that's leading the New York Knickerbockers on a ferocious surge and still lives on his brother's couch named Jeremy Lin.
What do all of these athletes have in common? They are all feel good, underdog stories that attain a sentiment all of us can root for.
I am an Asian American. I love Jeremy Lin's story. I love the road he has traveled to get to this point. I love the success and attention he is getting from all of the media outlets on the radio, TV and the internet. And I love the humility he is showing in a league dominated by stale, selfish minded egos.
I can idendify with this young man because we're both Asian American. I can identify with him because I too have been at a crossroads in my life and did not know what I wanted to do. Therefore, had to sleep on my brother's couch (its not fun). But I cannot identify with being a professional athlete; an Asian American pro athlete in a sport traditionally dominated by Caucasian Americans and African Americans.
I would not know what it would be like to go through a training camp, only to be the last one cut from a guaranteed contract and roster spot and wonder if I had been white or black, would Ihave made it? I bet Jeremy Lin thought about that question at one time or another through this adverse road that is the journey to the NBA.
Like him, love him or leave him, this kid's story is great. Yes GREAT! As my friend Kevin Holden has said, "If this young man got hurt tomorrow, god forbid, and never played another game in his life, this would be one of the top three stories of 2012." And I agree, it would be.
As it is, the story will not stop. It will go on. And now, it will go on in dramatic, NBA/Soap Opera style. Lin's been doing all of this without his All-Star forwards. Remember them? Amare Stoudamire and Carmelo Anthony will come back and Jeremy Lin will have to learn how to play with the two biggest egos on the team.
Mark D'Antoni's style of offense suits Lin. The Knicks spread the floor well, so as to give room for the point guard to operate. Operate the pick and roll, which he does well and so does Stoudamire, so I cannot see too much of a problem there. And to operate an attack the rim, off the dribble offense. Not so much Anthony's hold-the-ball-for-3-seconds-on-the-wing-and-see-what-kind-of-shot-I-can-get style of offense.
They say opportunity is subject to timing and circumstance. Timing: the Knicks had no other real option at point guard. Circumstance: D'Antoni employs an offense suited, not only for a point guard like Lin, but a young point guard susceptible to a lot of mistakes/turnovers. Lin has had a lot of turnovers in these past 6 games. More than any other coach would typically allow. D'Antoni has allowed the young guard to make these mistakes in games without Lin having to fear not only losing his job, but being cut from the team altogether.
When a player has no fear of that, paired with a confidence to go out and play, that equals creative success on the basketball court. That is what Jeremy Lin is achieving. And that should inspire not only every Asian American kid, but all kids across the U.S. He didn't give up on his dream of playing in the NBA even though he didn't have a pioneer to look up to. That should be the underlying message here; Jeremy Lin didn't give up and now he's the starting point guard for the New York Knicks.