Lin-Sanity – The New Household Name of Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks

I still have a few more entries to make in my series on Christians in the NFL, but I thought I would take a little break today, and look at the name that is currently dominating the world of Sports.  New York Knicks guard – Jeremy Lin.

With the football season over, and baseball spring training still a few days away.  The majority of sports fans in North America are catching their breath from football playoffs, before the rush of basketball playoffs (and for us Canadians and Northern USers the hockey playoffs too).  But for these 6 weeks starting at the Super Bowl, the intense playoff atmosphere takes a short break before March Madness kicks it all off again.  So how cool is it that in the midst of that time, a story like Jeremy Lin comes along.

In case you have missed it, Lin is the starting point guard for the New York Knicks.  He has been playing big minutes for the past 6 or 7 games – all wins by the Knicks.  He has scored tons of points, hit key game winning shots, put up back to back double doubles, and captured the attention of the Knicks fans, NBA fans and the sporting world in general.  It is quite an underdog story.   He has drawn comparisons to Tim Tebow, and there is something to be said about how “all he does is win” which was bandied about in description of Tebow throughout the NFL season.

But if we are looking at good comparisons, I think Kurt Warner is more accurate.  Tebow was a college star in a huge NCAA football program.  He was a first round draft pick – which always carries expectations and the fact that Tebow’s wins and successes seemed rooted in improbability, he was at least on the radar of the fans and pundits – the former loved him and cheered him on through all the improbable wins that he lead the Broncos to this year.  The latter watched with equal interest and “I told you so” grins at the ready.

Warner was undrafted, cut, worked through some developmental leagues (NFL-Europe, Arena Football) and came to the NFL with little fanfare, then when given the chance because of injuries, led his team on an amazing run – leading to a championship in his first significant season (he was 4 of 11 for 39 yards in his first season).

Lin was undrafted out of Harvard (great school – not known for basketball although he did set some school records there).  He signed with the Golden State Warriors and played summer league basketball with the Dallas Mavericks organization.  He was cut by the warriors and picked up by the Houston Rockets during the pre-season.  He played in a couple of pre-season games before they cut him too.  The Knicks picked him up, but he was buried deep on the bench, playing sparingly.  They assigned him to the D-League.  They recalled him because of injuries, and again, he played little (55 total minutes in 23 games).  They talked about releasing him, but one more set back to an injured player gave Lin some minutes – and he lit it up with 25 points coming off the bench.  That earned Lin his first start, and he scored 28 points.

Here is what Lin did in his first 5 starts, according to Wikipedia.

 Lin scored 89 and 109 points in his first three and four career starts, respectively, the most by any player since the merger between the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the NBA in 1976–77.
He is the first NBA player with at least 20 points and seven assists in his first four starts.
Lin was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals in those four starts with the Knicks going undefeated.
On February 14, Lin scored a game-winning three-pointer in Toronto with less than a second remaining in a game where he surpassed Shaquille O’Neal’s league record for the most points in his first five games as a starter

We have only 5 games to gauge Lin on so far, so I am not buying my Knicks championship gear yet, but he has brought energy to the New Yorkers and has dominated the sports landscape for the past 2 weeks.  And the numbers are very impressive.  And he knows that all that has happened and is happening is God’s doing.

Read more about his story in this article from Gospel Herald

I like this quote of his.

“I’ve surrendered [needing to prove himself] to God,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’m not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore.”

This is great truth.  God is who we are living for and all that we do in our life is to be for Him.  When we lose sight of this, we can shift the focus back on ourselves very easily.  May all we say and do be for the glory of God and may we always keep our efforts striving for His purposes.

As a casual NBA fan with no real team loyalties, this story has captured my attention, too.  I have  become a fan of Jeremy Lin, and am excited to see what God can do through his improbable story.  To God be the Glory!


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