Linsanity is a Gift that I’m Grateful to have Received

I finally got a chance to watch the Linsanity documentary, thanks to MrPingPong, who posted a link to the video in the comments of a previous post. Watching Linsanity brought back a lot of emotions I had when I wrote that very long post: Jeremy Lin Haters and Doubters are Like the Flat Earth People. One of the things the documentary confirmed for me is how crazy it was Lin was able to do what he did, since he didn’t even get a chance to practice much with his teammates. In my write up, I emphasized that point, but seeing the documentary confirmed it even more for me.

I think people disregard this very important point: that Lin really didn’t know any of his teammates when he pulled off Linsanity. He hadn’t had a chance to practice with them and wasn’t familiar with any of the plays. He went out there completely cold and was able to create AMAZING chemistry out of thin air. People don’t realize how hard this is. I mean, it took LeBron, Wade and Bosh a season or so to find good chemistry. On top of this, Lin did it with so much pressure, knowing that he’d get cut if he didn’t play well in the Nets game, so Lin was in a very bad place emotionally, psychologically, physically (not getting a good night’s rest on Landry’s miniature couch) right before the Nets game. That just adds to the magic of the event.

What Jeremy Lin accomplished during Linsanity is perhaps the most amazing sports stories ever. I’m so grateful I’m alive to witness it. I still think people who say it was hyped up are just saying it because they think it’s something that sounds smart to say (i.e., makes them feel like they’re above it all). But it actually wasn’t hyped up, at all. Linsanity was a once-in-a-lifetime story and it was treated exactly the way it should have been with the proper amount of fervor. And those who say it was only because it happened in New York are, again, saying things that they think sounds smart. But they never consider that a phenomenon like Tebowmania didn’t happen in New York. Again, this was a once-in-a-lifetime story and would have been just as big if it happened anywhere else. Okay, maybe Lin would have had 50K fewer followers on Twitter. So what? No one is going to see anything close to Linsanity again in their lifetime, so that’s why there was so much frenzy.

The documentary really drove home how Lin continues to face tremendous obstacles at every turn due to not looking the part. So McHale is just another one of the obstacles that Lin will overcome and he has already overcame it to some degree so far this season. Watching the documentary angers me all over again about the injustice he faced out of high school (although I’m comforted knowing how it all worked out in the end). Not getting drafted when he clearly was the best player in California and led his team to the state championship. Talk about outright racism. I couldn’t imagine the level of frustration I would have if I was Lin or a member of his family or his close friends. I would go out of my mind at how unjust it all is and would take a lot of meditation to get my mind right. Ha ha. And people don’t see comparisons between Jeremy Lin and Jackie Robinson?

Sure the racism against Lin isn’t blatant like with Jackie Robinson. It’s more subtle. You have to read between the lines. But there are definitely similarities between what Lin is doing and what Jackie Robinson did. Of course, Robinson did it during another era when the stakes were much higher, so that’s why the amplitude of what Robinson did was greater. But I think what a lot of Asian people feel for Lin is similar to what blacks must have felt for Robinson. And it is partly why I was motivated to start this blog, since there are so many misperceptions, preconceptions, etc. that rear its ugly head when it comes to Lin. One of my purposes in life is to help people see a little clearer and bring up things that they may not have thought of. And that’s why I wrote that really long post about Jeremy Lin Haters and Doubters. It was unfathomable to me how people could still doubt Lin even after he did what he did during Linsanity. And people are still doubting Lin, thanks to a coach who does everything in his power to not play Lin the way Lin is supposed to be played. Speaking of which, There was one clip from the documentary during one of the Linsanity games in which the commentators said that they’re running one pick and roll after another for Lin. I think they ran like 10 times more PnRs for Lin during that short stretch from Linsanity than during the entire time Lin has been with the Rockets. Lin still hasn’t been played the right way and still manages to put up some good numbers this season so far, again, overcoming yet another obstacle in his way.

Watching those Linsanity clips, I was reminded how well Lin used to finish at the rim and Lin had so many AND-1s during Linsanity. I don’t know what happened to that Jeremy Lin (actually, McHale has a lot to do with it). But Lin, himself, said that he felt like he had an out-of-body experience during the Linsanity stretch, so I’m not sure if that was part of what made him finish so well at the rim with so many different moves to the basket. Of course, being essentially sidelined by McHale may have had a lot to do with him losing that aspect of his game (if in fact he had it before he joined the Rockets).

Here are some things I thought were interesting or new things I learned from the documentary (in no particular order):

  • Joe Lacob, the owner of the Golden State Warriors, just happen to buy the team right around the time Lin was in the Summer league and convinced the organization to give Lin a shot, because his son (who’s also a point guard) used to play against Lin back in high school and he saw Lin play back in high school. So that’s one of those lucky coincidences that worked out in Lin’s favor.
  • There are lots of clips of Lin finishing with his left–even back in high school–so I’m not sure if that’s the director trying to show us that the whole “Lin can’t go left thing” is overblown. Whether or not this is the director’s aim, I think the whole thing is overblown, because most NBA players favor one side. This whole “Lin can’t go left thing” became a thing, because there wasn’t much to criticize Lin on during Linsanity. a similar phenomenon happened with criticisms on his defense, which I discussed in this video.
  • This is something I’ve known, but the documentary serves as a good reminder of how close things came to Linsanity never happening. The fact that he was waved by the Rockets at just the right time when the Knicks needed another guard, because Schumpert went down. And this happened during the weirdest season schedule due to the lockout, which forced the Knicks to go deep into their bench due to a back-to-back-to-back that could have only happened due to a shortened lockout season. If none of this wouldn’t have happened, Knicks may not have given him a second shot after his dismal showing against the Celtics.
  • During that Celtics game, the Knicks told Lin to not do too much and Lin listened, which resulted in a very tentative, terrible performance. This is a good reminder for all coaches who coach Lin to just let Lin do his thang. Because the only way Lin plays well is when he’s playing loose and free and aggressive. Attacking the basket and not worrying about turnovers. This is why McHale is the WORST coach for Lin, because he’s more worried about turnovers, etc. and doesn’t appreciate attacking point guards. He just wants them to not do too much and just move the ball. He also causes players to be overly concerned about making mistakes. What I really loved about D’Antoni is that he encouraged Lin to make mistakes. I’m not a big fan of D’Antoni’s coaching, but he’s the only coach in the NBA who has believed in Lin and given Lin the respect that Lin deserves. Hope Lin finds another coach who has just as much of a belief in his game and lets Lin play loose and free and aggressive.
  • It was interesting to see how much Lin pays attention to the media–especially that part about Kobe’s comments about not knowing what Lin has done, etc. I guess that one was hard to ignore. But it was interesting how frank Lin is about it. I knew this about Lin, but it was nice to have it confirmed by the documentary about how competitive Lin is. So Kobe’s comments really fired Lin up and also John Wall’s dunk on Lin really fired him up to cross over Wall and dunk on the Wizards. It also reminded me of the game in the summer, where someone dunked on Lin causing him to go on a 43 point tirade. Having that competitive spirit is very important in sports. Combine that with joy and you have a recipe for success.
  • This is also something I’ve suspected about Lin, but again, the documentary really confirmed it. Lin is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. Granted, the things he went through would be trying on anyone, but I think Lin is someone who is really really hard on himself and takes mis-steps to heart and it does plague him during the games. It causes him to lose sleep and I’m reminded of his testimony this summer in which he talked about how tough it was for him with the Rockets in the beginning of the season. I think Lin constantly has to remind himself to play for God and to not pay attention to what the media says, etc. This is something that Lin continues to struggle with, but I think it’s something that he’s getting better and better at now that he’s been through so much.
  • There was one scene during the documentary when Lin was in the D-League and one of his teammates asked him if he’s a point guard. Lin responded by saying that he was and all the guy said was to pass the ball to him and just hang back. That was a very revealing clip about how toxic the environment is in the D-League. I’d never given that much thought, so it was definitely something new I learned. In the D-League, everyone is trying to prove themselves. Wins and losses don’t matter. So your teammates aren’t really on your side.
  • The other behind-the scenes thing that was great to see was that Lin was actually grateful for the NBA lockout, since it allowed him to work on his game. During those clips, I could really sympathize with Lin’s sense of urgency. Of wishing the lockout could be extended so he can really work on his game. Again, this is another one of those coincidences that worked out in Lin’s favor. I think coming out of Harvard, Lin still had a lot to work on in order to compete at the NBA level. This is another aspect that made what Lin did during Linsanity so magical. He was not quite ready for that level of success. It just happened seemingly out of the blue.
  • It was funny to see Lin doing laundry during Linsanity. That’s one thing that’s great about Lin that won’t ever change. He’s very down to earth. It’s also funny to hear his mom telling him and his sister-in-law that the media would go crazy if they found out he was sleeping on the couch and Lin was like, “So what?” I also liked the clips about him going off about how much he loves his Lion King Blanket. He don’t give a f#@k! Ha ha.

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  • Melody

    WOW! You really learn and confirm a lot about JLin by watching Linsanity. To me, as I watched it once and confirmed everything that I have read and watched and listened to his testimonies that he will overcome another bump that he receives from McHale and Rockets. It’s hard for us, JLin fans to watch it, but for JLin, he has suffered worse and this is nothing new. Just pray that he will continue to improve and stay healthy after recovering from this injury.

    • Yeah, Melody, the obstacles in his way now are nothing compared to when he thought he’d never play in the NBA again after that Celtics game before the Nets game. I think when Lin “lost” his tarting job at the beginning of this season, his agent, Montgomery, reminded him of back when he thought he wouldn’t even play in the NBA. Back when he’d give anything to be the 15th man on the bench, etc. That being said, whatever obstacles we face is still significant to us as we’re dealing with it, even though we may have faced far bigger obstacles.

      Yeah, we’ll have to see if Lin continues to do well after his injury. Hopefully, they don’t find anything else wrong with his knee once they re-examine him.

  • MrPingPong

    To my disappointment, Linsanity the Movie did not shed any light on the assistant coach at Cal Berkeley who called Lin ‘Ron Jeremy’.


  • pistolpete

    I was a Knick’s fan for many years and watched almost every game Jeremy started in NY so the documentary brought back a lot of memories. The Knicks have made many bad moves over the years and I’ve always remained a fan but letting Jeremy go for nothing was the last straw and I started following the Rockets. I was amazed and dismayed at McHale’s treatment of him however and now I’m hoping he gets traded to a team that will utilize his talents. I think that the Knicks letting him go is now costing them as he is far superior to Felton.I also think in the long run McHale’s treatment of Jeremy will cost him and the Rockets as well. If eremy was allowed to run the offense and with the talent they have I feel they could make a serious run at a NBA championship. Unfortunately for Jeremy and the team with McHale as coach this will never happen.

    • Dolan is the worst owner. Period. It’s exhausting to even recount all the wrong decisions he’s made. I’m glad that you finally left the Knicks. I think for quite a number of people, Knicks letting Lin go was the last straw. That’s gotta be the one of the worst decisions, but I was so thrilled that Knicks let Lin go. It’s hard to cheer on a team owned by a man of such low character as Dolan. I feel for Knicks fans. But it’s very unfortunate for Lin that he had to be traded to a team coached by McHale. I also look forward to a time when Lin gets to play for a coach who actually believes in his game. But I think the best scenario for Lin would be for him to win the 6th man award and play out his contract, since by then he’ll have more of a chance to pick his team. If he gets traded, he doesn’t have much control over where he goes. I have a feeling that the Raptors want Lin. This is based on nothing, of course. Just my gut. I think they were high on Lin during his free agency, but they, like everyone else, thought that the Knicks wouldn’t give Lin up, so they didn’t make a serious effort to get Lin. I think they did express interest, though.

  • Forthelin

    One of the elephants in the room is the issue of Jeremy Lin being Chinese, an Asian. People, in general, prefer the status quo of stereotypes; otherwise, they are threatening. Blacks were not smart enough to be quarterbacks; blacks couldn’t swim; Jews are tricky and deceptive; Asians are smart but docile; Asians are nerds; and so on. Jeremy Lin brings three dangerous stereotypes to the front: he is both smart(4.0 + HS gpa) and athletic and Chinese. This brings out not just jealousy, but turns people inside out because it is just cannot be, especially in a sport that has been the domain of one particular race for so long. The prevailing stereotypes of Jackie Robinson were probably similar, though much more ingrained and frankly dangerous so the comparison is apt but probably not completely comparable.

    On the issue of the Rockets and McHale, it appears McHale has changed a bit when Harden was on the bench injured. The Rockets have basically been playing Jeremy Lin ball since Harden was out, and I think McHale might like it at least a little, as they are blowing out teams left and right without Harden.

    • MrPingPong

      Certain writer at the Spurs fan site thinks Lin is a foreigner:

      “… the Rockets sport their own fairly impressive foreign legion of Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, Jeremy Lin, Francisco Garcia and Donatas Montiejunas”.

      “Dragon in the room”, I’d say! 🙂

      • Wow! That is very ignorant of that writer and inexcusable.

    • Well said, Forthelin.

      It’s funny how McHale “coaches” better when something happens to force him to do things differently than he normally would.This same thing happened several times last season, also due to injuries. If McHale goes against every instinct he has as a coach, he would be a great coach. Ha ha. I don’t have faith that McHale will learn from the experience, though, because he didn’t learn from his experience last season at all.

  • MrPingPong
    • Thanks for the link, MrPingPong. Very inspirational story!

  • MrPingPong

    In case you want to know, Asik has a bruised thigh and Parsons is still hurting. So they will both sit tonight. Of course, Lin and Smith are still out.

    The Rockets are very much short-handed against the Suns tonight. Let’s see how McHale manages his troops and how the players with able bodies respond to the challenge.

    • I didn’t watch tonight’s game, but just looked at the box score and saw that they dropped another game against a mediocre team. How was McHale’s coaching? Rockets have their two superstars, but couldn’t get it done against two mediocre teams. Very interesting. I wonder if there’s anything to take away from these two losses. If there is, then I hope McHale and the Rockets organization is open enough to receive the lesson.

  • MrPingPong

    Well, Rockets lost to Suns. Sad game…

    Lin did not look happy on the sideline.
    Worst yet, I spotted a very disturbing post on the dreamshake’s game thread:

    It says Lin is limping on the sideline. 🙁

    • Lets hope it’s just soreness from sitting on the sidelines. We’ll find out more soon once he gets re-examined.

      • MrPingPong

        NBA players do not get sore and stiff from sitting on the bench, I don’t think. (Linsanity wouldn’t have happened, would it?)

        May be I’m overly paranoid, but if Lin is still limping after a week, then it is not a good sign.

  • asdf

    a while ago, i had the pleasure of watching the movie as well (in a theater packed with excited Lin fans here in st. louis). while i thought the movie wasn’t very well done (it was slow and i thought it didn’t go in depth enough on some topics like his faith. i also thought the movie brought up unnecessary things that weren’t developed, detracting from the flow of the movie), i really agree with you that it rekindled memories of the magic of linsanity.
    this post really embodies what it means to be a lin fan. i think so many people want to see lin put up certain numbers (which is only natural, of course! i want him to put up numbers too!), but jeremy shared this summer that that doesn’t matter. i love the camaraderie on, but to be honest, it irks me and even makes me a little uncomfortable when people are so fixated on his stats that they’re actually spreading negativity. this is nothing against anybody on–because i do think the rockets’ organization is not really an accepting and family-like environment for him (i don’t particularly like harden, mchale, or parsons, but i don’t hate them either. this is complicated so i won’t get into that)–but i also think it’s important to remember that letting things like stats affect our mood is precisely what jeremy would dismiss as silly. sometimes it’s better to just step back and appreciate that one of the most down-to-earth stars in the world is playing for us to watch every day, and what a blessing it is to be able to enjoy that.

    • Thanks for the comment, asdf. Apologies I haven’t been as active writing posts on this site, since I’ve taken a break from watching the games since Lin hasn’t been playing. I just can’t get myself that excited to watch the games without Lin playing. After all, he was the one that brought me back into the game after a very long hiatus.

      I don’t get to go onto the forums very much, due to lack of time, but I feel the same way as you about Lin’s stats. I also want him to put up good stats, but I’m also not obsessed over them and I also don’t like spreading negativity just for the sake of pumping up Lin or something. I just try and keep it as real as I can.

      Well said, it is a blessing to be alive during Lin’s run and sometimes we do need to just sit back and enjoy it. Hopefully, he’ll have a long career ahead of him.

      • asdf

        no need to apologize; the best advice for a blogger is to write for yourself and not to please readers. keepin it genuine and keepin it real, as you said =]
        and i’m sure you have other stuff going on

  • asdf

    and im not saying that lin is perfect or the most noble/virtuous guy ever by any means. LOFs (like me) tend to almost treat him like god haha which is why people call LOFs delusional.

    but he is a good guy that goes through a lot and is a ton of fun to follow

    • Ha ha. I agree. He is of high character, though. I made a video about “Rockets Fans” and LOFs. Not sure if you’ve had a chance to see it. I think LOFs have the “delusional” label due to a vocal minority and is further exacerbated by the fact that “Rockets Fans” take advantage of this minority to distort the perceptions of ALL Lin fans in order to marginalize Lin fans. Not sure if that made sense.

      • asdf

        yep that makes sense–haters love to pick on a few fans and use them to take shots at Lin fans in general and even Lin himself

  • Oh oh 🙁
    Praying for your fast recovery JLin!!!

    Like you Mr. Philosopher, I only watch NBA games if Jeremy is playing or not injured.
    So, please JLin be well fast.