Jeremy Lin and his rising star

Nimrod Miaco
Jeremy Lin was an afterthought for New York Knicks, but this Harvard economics graduate is starting to turn heads

MANILA, Philippines – The basketball world has been buzzing all week long about Jeremy Lin.

Jeremy who? That’s right. Lin was just an afterthought, but on a night where he lead the New York Knicks to a victory over the New Jersey Nets with a stat line of 25 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in a game where he faced one of NBA’s best point guards, Deron Williams, Lin started to turn heads.

His impressive showing did not go unnoticed as coach Mike D’Antoni awarded him his first ever NBA career start vs. the Utah Jazz.

Already without 2nd-leading scorer Amare Stoudemire, who was grieving the loss of his brother due to an automobile accident, The Knicks also lost their main star Carmelo Anthony to a groin injury mid-way throught the 1st quarter of their game against the Jazz.

Lin took over, scoring 28 points and dishing out 8 assists for 99-88 victory over the Jazz. The performance also makes Lin the first player to score at least 28 points with 8 assists in his first NBA start since Isaiah Thomas back in 1981, according to ESPN.

‘Linsanity,’ as he is now fondly called by fans all around the world, followed it up with his 1st career double-double, 23 points and 10 assists, in a 107-93 victory over the Washington Wizards where he squared-off with 2010 top draft pick John Wall.

At this point, everyone was starting to really take notice of the Bay Area native and was anticipating his Knicks’ match-up vs. Kobe and the Lakers.

Lin took his game to another level dropping a career-high 38 points against The Black Mamba and his Lakers. His scoring output is the best by any Knick this season.

Lin continued his winning ways as he knocked down clutch freethrows for a come-from-behind win vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves lead by another young point guard sensation, Ricky Rubio and All-Star forward Kevin Love. The victory extends the Knicks’ (linning) streak to 5.

Tough road to the NBA

Lin was a star in High School as he captained Palo Alto High to a 32-1 record. Despite that, Lin was not offered any athletic scholarships in College.

He attended Harvard where he continued to impress with his basketball skills averaging 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in his Senior year. He graduated with a degree in Economics and a 3.1 GPA.

Undrafted in his Rookie year in the NBA, Lin tried out for several teams and received offers from titles contenders Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers but opted to play for his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors.

The Ivy League stand-out had a modest run with the Warriors but was waived in December 2011. The Rockets picked him up only to drop him again to make room for Center Samuel Dalembert.

In December 27, 2011, the New York Knicks picked him up to be a 3rd-string point-guard following an injury to Rookie Iman Shumpert.

Underdog Rising

Lin was fighting for a back-up role in New York. A source close to the Knicks management says the ball club was leaning towards waiving him until his explosion vs. the Nets.

Linsanity took advantage of the opportunity and the rest was history. His game speaks for itself, but it also helps that he is the first Asian-American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play on such a high level in the biggest stage of basketball.

Everybody loves an underdog and Lin’s story is no different.

In his first 3 20-point games alone, people have already come up with clever monickers including Linsanity, Lincredible, All’Lin, Super Lintendo, Linning, and many others.

Lin is having an All-Star caliber week setting career-highs for himself while matching other league records. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is the first player since 2-time MVP LeBron James to score at least 20 points and dish out 8 assists in his first 2 NBA starts.

New York’s backcourt troubles have been the main issue of the ball club this season. Lin’s emergence seem to have plugged that hole as the Knickcs slowly make their way back to contention. The Knicks held an 8-15 win-loss record before Linsanity struck.

Lin sees himself as a basketball player and not just an Asian-American. He hopes to break a stereotype and set an example so that Asians can get the respect they deserve when it comes to sports and basketball. –

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