I like sports. I don’t love sports, I just like it. I’m not a crazed fan that’s so enamored with one particular team or player. If my team wins, that’s cool. If they lose, it’s not the end of the world. I identify with all New York teams out of default, and because any playoff success brings extra revenue to the city which theoretically should filter into the education system thereby helping me to retain my job. This is not to say that I don’t get excited when the Giants win super bowls or the Yankees continue to make massive signings and trades, moreover I frequent si.com and espn.com on multiple occasions everyday, so I’m no where as naive as one would think.
However, what I’m experiencing now with the emergence and stardom of the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin is foreign to me, for I have never been so obsessed and excited about one particular player, ever. Of course him being Asian-American and Christian has much, or nearly all to do with my attraction. Yes, there were and are, counted on one hand, some Asians in the NBA, but none domestic born and so integrated into society as Lin. Yes, there are Asians in baseball and football, but again they aren’t “American” enough as Lin being born in the Bay area and graduated from Harvard (perhaps that Chen dude that was on the Braves, but he wasn’t good at all).
Moreover, his underdog story is unbelievable too. He succeeded at the high school and college levels, but went undrafted after graduation. He was picked up and released by two NBA teams within his first year and was finally picked up by the Knicks at the beginning of this season, but only as insurance because of injuries on the team. No one saw this coming and now he’s being touted as the savior of the Knicks. Over his first five real games as an NBA player, Lin schooled Kobe Bryant (Jordan’s self-proclaimed heir) and has averaged 26.8 pts, 8 ast, and 4.2 reb. This nytimes article puts into perspective just how great Jeremy Lin can be with what he’s done so far when compared with some NBA all-time greats. And he’s still learning.
Lastly, the openness of his faith is quite refreshing not only in NYC, but within the Asian-American Christian community. Having a brother in Christ tear up the NBA is exhilarating, not to say that it’s all about us against them, but him being thankful and acknowledging that this opportunity was not of his own doing and giving credit to his teammates is a great example of how to bring Christ into the work place. This Intervarsity article dwells deep into Jeremy’s beliefs and how he’s grown as a Christian and understands that “over the years I’ve learned that just because you follow God, it doesn’t mean you win every game or get what you want athletically. There is a godly way to play basketball and that’s what you’re responsible for doing.” I’m quite humbled by his maturity at the age of 23.
I love Lin and I do hope he stays in New York after this season. Maybe I’ll see him in a Sunday service one day.