Before Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, I was hesitant to jump on the hype machine that surrounded Jeremy Lin. I knew he was a good basketball player, but I didn’t want to act out of control about him — at least not after only three games.
Against the league’s 4th, 5th and 7th worst defenses in those three games, it was hard for me to go crazy for Lin. It had to take an opposition that was considered one of the league’s elite.
I wanted that proof. I needed that proof. I got that proof.
Let me preface first that I am a huge supporter of Lin. I remember attending one of his Harvard games when his team came to play Santa Clara University. I really had a blast watching him play.
I was on hand for his NBA regular season debut with the Warriors. I interviewed him right after that game. And most importantly, he was a down to earth guy when I ran into him at Denny’s.
He has been a great hero to the Asian community and I am very proud of him.
I’ve seen him play and I know what he can do. It was just hard to for me to be like my friends and jump on the hype machine. At least I knew that a good performance against a good team was warranted.
The kind of hype Lin was getting seemed to be because of his Asian-American background. If he was African-American, I bet this kind of hype doesn’t exist. But it was because he was so different, people latched onto him. But I wanted to get excited for him as a basketball player. That period of excitement for him as an Asian-Ameican was over for me. It was time for him to be viewed as a basketball player.
On Friday, Lin stole the show against the Lakers and that novelty image no longer existed in my mind.
I watched most of the game and I was already impressed with a few things early on. Lin drove a lot more and when the lanes weren’t open, his improved jump shot was the remedy. It was clear that he had a lot more confidence in his game.
Compared to last year, it’s so different. This is the kind of player that Lin excelled as in high school and college. At Golden State, he never had the opportunity to run pick and rolls and become a floor general. In New York’s offense, he has become just that.
As an Asian-American myself, I was proud of all the accomplishments Lin has had since coming into the league. I was going to support his NBA journey no matter where it went. But to make the hype worth it, he had to also play real good ball.
It got to the point where I wanted him to be only viewed as a basketball player. I didn’t want his ethnicity to be what people only saw in him. The first three games that got him on the roll, he was still viewed as an Asian-American, not as a basketball player.
That’s why I was waiting for that game against the Lakers. At least then and there, he would have his chance to really make his mark as a basketball player. I didn’t think he would have this kind of performance, but he blew my mind with his game.
I think after this game, people now see him more than just a special Asian-American in the NBA. It seems now that he’s being viewed as a legit NBA player. And for me, I can now start feeding that hype machine. His ethnicity is no longer the talk of discussions. It didn’t need to be. He’s now just a basketball player.
That’s all I really wanted to see come out of this cult following and he achieved it with a performance for the ages on Friday.