- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Cassese)
Jeremy Lin has overcome low expectations in high school, college, and his professional career to become the current starting point guard for the New York Knicks.
However, after seven phenomenal performances in a row, Lin may have to face a new challenge: becoming an icon for his skills, his race, and his faith.
After scoring a final second winner just days ago, Lin and the Knicks followed that up with another win, making it seven in-a-row for the New York team.
Although Lin has only been in the spotlight for the past few weeks, previously being a relatively unknown player, he has been receiving huge amounts of coverage both for his Asian-American heritage and his devout Christian faith.
The media has dubbed his exploits as "Linsanity," which is reminiscent of the "Tebowmania" ESPN experienced during the Broncos' season. Lin is also being embraced by sports fans in mainland China who have been looking for a new basketball hero ever since Yao Ming's retirement.
However, when Lin talks about his basketball career, he tends to focus less on his own fame and success and more on serving God. This is not something new; in a 2003 interview with Patheos, Lin explained that he has loved both Christianity and basketball since his childhood, but it took him until high school to truly understand how his two passions could work together.
"That's when I began to learn what it means to play for the glory of God. My parents had often talked about it and told me that I should play for God's glory, but I never understood quite what that meant," Lin said. "Slowly, God revealed more to me. I started learning how to trust in Him, not to focus so much on whether I win or lose but to have faith that God has a perfect plan."
At many times in his life, it looked like basketball might not have been in God's plan for Lin, but he persevered. Although Lin received Player of the Year honors and captained Palo Alto High School to a 31-1 season and a state title in his senior year, he was not offered a basketball scholarship by any major schools.
Lin chose to attend Harvard, where he received All-Ivy League First Team honors in both his junior and senior seasons, but was not selected during the NBA draft. Instead, Lin signed a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors. Although Lin generally played well in his limited minutes for the Warriors, he still spent most of the season bouncing between Golden State and the D-League.
After the NBA lockout, Lin was waived once by the Warriors and then again by the Houston Rockets before finally making his way to New York as a third-string point guard. That leads us to the past few weeks, where Lin has finally had the opportunity to shine, taking the Knicks to their seventh win, potentially catapulting their season forwards.
Although Lin has experienced the pressure of representing the Asian-American and Christian communities in the past, the NBA is a bigger stage than ever before. Still, Lin has a plan. As he told the Harvard Student Soul in 2010, "There is a godly way to play basketball and that's what you're responsible for doing. If you happen to get a championship, great, but if not, there is a lesson to be learned."