He is not:
- A top draft pick in the NBA. In fact, he wasn't drafted at all. He was waived by the first two teams that signed him as a free-agent (Golden State, Houston), and is only getting regular playing time with the Knicks because of injuries
- A graduate not of a "basketball factory" but instead of the Ivy League, specifically Harvard - that has no athletic scholarships, etc.
- An Asian-American
That said, it's hard not to root for Lin, who seems like a truly nice guy and is clearly a gifted if unconventional athlete. His success has spawned some interesting things - columnists and athletes like Jason Whitlock and Floyd Mayweather tweeting unsubtle racist thoughts about Lin, and others falling over themselves to appreciate the "Lin-Sanity." People love this story because Lin should NOT be succeeding, but he is. He's a true underdog, and who can't get on board with that?
My boss asked if Jeremy Lin might be the biggest story in NBA history & I actually had to think for a second. It's not, but still.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 15, 2012
And that, more than anything, is why I think the Jeremy Lin story - again, a GREAT story that is still unfolding - is important. It points out not only our desperate need for a hero, and an underdog hero at that, but perhaps more importantly, it points out our complete and total lack of perspective.
Can't we just ... wait? Do we need to make declarative statements that Player A is the best ever, or the worst ever, or one of the greatest ever ... before we have any real evidence.
JEREMY LIN HAS STARTED SEVEN GAMES. SEVEN.
Yes, the Knicks have won all seven of them, but note that I didn't say HE has won all seven of them, right? It's a team sport. But it's SEVEN games...even in this shortened NBA season, that's 10% of the regular season. Part of this is the stage - playing in New York makes a difference, obviously - and part of it is quite obviously that nobody had any expectations that Lin could do this. But if he goes into a slump next week, or gets hurt, or the Knicks start losing because or despite of him, this isn't a story anymore. It's certainly not the greatest story in the history of the NBA. My goodness.
That being said, if the Knicks win a title this year, then yes, it's the greatest NBA story of all-time.