Lin worthy of national spotlight

Going from Harvard to being on the verge of unemployment in basketball, Jeremy Lin knows firsthand how to deal with some adversity — on a pretty big scale. Just a few weeks ago, he was sleeping on his brother’s sofa. But after his last seven games, Lin can live the life of an NBA star.

There’s only one word to describe the basketball world over the past week: Linsane. And with that comes a flurry of puns in newspapers: Linning, Lincredible, Linning streak, Lin your face. Take your choice. You can’t go wrong.

Neither can Jeremy Lin these days.

It has indeed been insane ever since he began starting. In the wake of fame, it is how well he is handling himself off the court that will have the biggest impact in the locker room. There’s no telling if this unprecedented run can continue, but this, so far, is what the NBA needed: a feel-good story.

It is a magical one; you couldn’t take this script to the best filmmakers in Hollywood. They wouldn’t believe it. It is a tale of perseverance and hard work, which many aspiring athletes could learn from.

After receiving no athletic scholarships out of high school and being rejected from one of his dream schools, Stanford, Lin graduated from Harvard in 2010. Even at a low-profile athletic school, Lin was not even close to matching the numbers he has been putting up recently, leaving NBA executives to question what went wrong in the scouting process.

He went undrafted out of college before signing as a free agent with the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2010. Three times that year, the Warriors demoted Lin to their D-League affiliate. After a year of experimenting, the team waived the guard on the first day of training camp this season in hopes of freeing up cap space.

He was claimed off waivers by the Houston Rockets, who released him, and then the New York Knicks — his current team. Before Lin received his big break, there were reports that said the team seriously considered releasing him. Since then, he has been on a tear.

In his last seven games — where he has actually received quality minutes — Lin has averaged 24.4 points per game and almost seven assists per game. During that stretch, Lin outdueled Kobe Bryant in a victory over the Lakers. When the stage was bright, Lin contributed 38 points, the most in his brief career.

And just Tuesday night, when the critics were ready to pounce on him, he did it again. He hit the game-winning three and kept the Knicks’ winning streak alive in come-from-behind fashion. But catching my eyes was not his heroics but Tuesday’s postgame interview, where he was the first to blame himself for digging his team a huge hole. Yes, his team.

Again, this is something the NBA needs. In a year where the lockout turned the quality of play into hot garbage, this is something fans can get excited over. Even watching the league’s top teams, including the Chicago Bulls, has gotten boring because of the lack of competition on most nights.

And it doesn’t have to be just Knicks fans rallying around the overnight star; if there’s one team that fans of terrible teams adopt for the playoffs, why not the rejuvenated Knicks? If Lin continues to play with the best, it could be a joyride come the spring.

Lin’s turnaround from almost getting cut to becoming the hottest name in the league is worth following, even for the casual fan. But it makes you wonder, how was he passed up by so many teams? He didn’t warrant one of the 60 draft selections and was basically unwanted on the waiver wire.

But whatever excuses other general managers have, this has truly turned out to be a win for the league and the fans. Not only has it increased the Knicks’ popularity, it has drawn eyes from across the world in China — a country in which the league is heavily promoting its brand.

Even if Lin has a hiccup or two in the coming weeks, I know that I’ll be tuned in. So will the majority of NBA fans in this country and halfway across the world. This has been a special story from day one, and it will hopefully continue.

_Darshan is a sophomore in Media. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drshnpatel._