Why do I (and most of America) Love Jeremy Lin?

In Sports on February 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

by:  Eric Buenning

It’s rare when you find $20 on the sidewalk (and also super awesome). It is even more rare to witness somebody go from irrelevant to 90+ % of America to must-see TV in one week.  Well, luckily for the New York Knicks, the NBA, and fans alike, we are now witnessing one of those stories.  Jeremy Lin, in the course of this last week, has gone from being as important as your 2nd cousins’ cousins to scratching at the bottom of Tim Tebow’s level of fandom.  My roommate, who first got a glimpse of the Lin-sanity last night, asked me why I liked Lin so very much.  I was unable to answer that question.  Why do I like Jeremy Lin?  Why is he so mesmerizing?  Let’s try to come to an answer.

Is it because he’s Asian and successful at basketball?

Lin is technically not from China, but he is the first American born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.  There have been a few players from China to come over and try their luck in the NBA, and, outside of Yao Ming, none have really made much of an impact.  No matter if they are actually from Asia or Asian-born-American, the NBA hasn’t been a very successful platform for the Asian basketball player.

So does that make Jeremy Lin’s last week of success all the more impressive? Absolutely not.  Being a certain race doesn’t give you an inherent advantage in the league. While it is a rarity to see an Asian basketball player having the success Lin has had, it has nothing to do with him being Asian.  It’s all about the talent and preparation he’s put in combined with a fantastic opportunity in New York.

Answer to Question #1:  No.

Is it because he’s a devoted Christian?

That’s right, Tim Tebow (and many others, but not as public as Tebow) have company in the “God and others first, me second” mentality.  While that selfless way of living life is nothing short of admirable, is that why Jeremy Lin is so much fun to watch?  Are we secretly waiting for him to do something good, so that we can watch him deflect praise elsewhere?  Are we waiting to get audio like this?  It’s a really touchy subject, and a really tricky answer.  Everyone may have their certain ties to this aspect of Lin, but it cannot speak on behalf of the fans as a whole.

Answer to Question #2: Maybe, maybe not.

Is it because he’s a gentleman of Harvard?

If you don’t know, Jeremy Lin went undrafted in the 2010 draft, after completing a four-year career at Harvard.  He graduated with a degree in economics and 3.1 GPA (which for me, would be equivalent of me getting a 12.7 GPA here at school).  While that is impressive, it really can’t be why I (and the majority of America) like him.  He’s not even the most exciting person to come out of Harvard in the last decade, and he didn’t even invent Facebook.  So no, this admiration has nothing to do with Harvard.

Answer to Question #3: Helllllllll no.

Is it something we can’t put our finger on and you should really stop speculating about and try to explain it and stop wasting everyone’s time?

Yeesh, whoever is writing these questions clearly some issues with impatience (….).  Anyways, the truth is that you can’t give this phenomenon a definitive explanation.  The reason Jeremy Lin is such a hit right now can be attributed to many things.  You can attribute it to the theater of professional sports; the unpredictability and unscripted mystery of it all.  To see someone who seemed so insignificant a week ago make his name a trending topic on Twitter and an almost-all-household name is nothing short of miraculous.

After this past week, the spotlight is now on Jeremy Lin.  What’s equally amazing about the attention he’s deserved is how quickly he will share it with his God, his teammates, and his newly formed fans.  This 23-year old is uncommonly humble.  In an interview shown during last night’s game vs. The Los Angeles Lakers, Lin was quoted as saying “I wish that people would give a lot of the other players on this team a lot more credit.  I think there’s too much attention coming my way.”  He also went on to say that what was happening to the ball club is a lot bigger than one person and that he wished the people would talk about that more than just him.  Usually, people say stuff like that and we cling to it and admire it without realizing that it was probably just a surface level statement.  But with Lin, you could see how uncomfortable he was talking about himself.  You could sense that he really did wish people would talk about his teammates rather than him.  You can’t fake that kind of humble.

As captivating as he has been so far, he will no doubt come back down to Earth.  That’s just a sad fact of life.  The same thing happened with Tim Tebow.  Jeremy Lin will probably put up a turd of a performance sometime this week or next.  But that doesn’t mean that this last week didn’t happen, and that’s why America and I are in love with Jeremy Lin right now.  For that brief moment in time, the impossible was possible. All that the impossible needs to become possible is preparation, effort, and an opportunity to shock the world.  While the Jeremy Lin show probably won’t last for much longer (and I’m hoping that I am dead wrong), he again serves as a fantastic reminder to what is achievable in this life we’ve been blessed to have. Let’s hope the Lin-sanity can continue.


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