If you haven’t read Alex Kennedy’s “Lin Ready for Fresh Start with Lakers”, it’s worth checking out, because it’s a pretty in-depth interview with Lin conducted after Byron Scott’s hiring. The interview with Lin was done over the phone, I believe. The interview touches on a lot of aspects of Lin’s NBA life and it provides a good glimpse into where Lin’s head is at.
I wanted to talk about one part of the article that I found interesting in this regard. Alex asks Lin about whether or not Lin feels he has proven that he’s a starting-caliber point guard in the NBA and here’s how Lin responded:
“You know what, that’s a good question; I don’t know and I don’t think I actually care anymore, and I think that’s just where I’m at in my life. I don’t care to figure out what the answer to that question is anymore. Before I [had] kind of like a chip on my shoulder, things to prove, people to prove wrong. Now, I’m just like when I get out there I’m going to play and everyone’s going to formulate their own opinion and it’s going to change every single day. I don’t think my own opinion of myself has ever changed. I still believe I am capable of that. But that’s just me, that’s if you ask me. I’m not really worried about what everyone else is thinking anymore.”
Lin’s response is very interesting, indeed, and also very insightful. It’s not often you get such a refreshingly raw, honest answer from a person in the public eye to a very sensitive question. I’m glad Lin answered the provocative question in the way he did, because it really gives me a good idea of where his head is at and reinforces my belief that Lin is in a very good place, psychologically. I was very concerned about Lin’s psyche before the Free Agency period and that’s why I wrote him an open letter. It appears Lin is in a very good head space now.
Some fans might be alarmed to hear Lin say that he doesn’t care to find out the answer to the question of whether or not he has proven that he’s a starting-caliber point guard. Of course, his fans all think that he is, so in that sense, his answer may seem a little deflating. However, as a Lin fan, I’m bolstered by Lin’s response. I think this answer would be somewhat alarming if he didn’t add that he, himself, thinks that he is capable of being a starting point guard and that hasn’t changed. To me, this is the key, because sometimes it is good to play with a chip on your shoulder if you’re someone who’s externally motivated. But if you’re more internally motivated, which I think Lin is (as am I), then it’s critical that he believes in himself. And I think this approach of not caring what others think is a good one for Lin to take, since he does appear to be internally motivated. Or at least being externally motivated doesn’t seem to have done him much good, based on what he’s revealed through his testimonies, etc.
I really like the part when Lin says, “When I get out there, I’m going to play and everyone’s going to formulate their own opinion and it’s going to change every day,” This is an expression of someone who has found peace within himself and with his situation. It’s also a very wise way to approach a job that’s constantly being scrutinized by the public. I hope Lin continues to have that approach through the season’s inevitable upswings and downswings. Lin’s game is going to be constantly criticized and praised throughout his career, night after night, so it is good to be at peace with all of the criticisms and praises and just let them pass on by like a nice warm breeze. This is a different approach than “blocking out” the critics. I think “blocking out” praises and criticisms is giving these praises and criticisms power. Because if they truly don’t matter to you, then there’s no need for an antagonistic approach. There’s no need to shield yourself from them. If they truly don’t matter and you’re truly at peace with all the criticisms and praises, then you just let them go by you like a gentle breeze. That’s what it means to be truly at peace about something. And I’m hoping that this is sort of what Lin means when he said what he said. In the past, he talked a lot about blocking out the media, etc. I think he does still do that, but I’m hoping that his approach is one of being at peace with all the outside noise, rather than having to shield himself from the outside world. From this interview, it appears that he’s getting to the place where he’s completely at peace with all the attention he gets.
I think Lin’s current state of being allows him to just play his game without thinking too much, which was the issue in Houston. He was constantly thinking on the court, not just because of the media attention, but also because he was in constant fear of making a mistake and being benched by McHale. I’m hoping that he takes the approach about playing his game no matter what–even when it comes to coach Scott and Kobe. Because the truth is, if Lin plays his game, it’s good for the team, since Linsanity is all about team ball. To me, Linsanity is the raw embodiment of the Spurs spirit. So Lin should just go out there and do his thing night in and night out no matter what. If he helps the team win games, that’s all that’s going to matter.
The other part of the interview I want to touch on is when Lin says that he “rarely” watches footage of his games during Linsanity. I’m not exactly sure how to interpret this. In my open letter to Lin, I expressed that I think Lin feels self-conscious about Linsanity and is even somewhat embarrassed by it. And I think that’s unhealthy. I feel like Lin hasn’t fully come to terms with what he did during Linsanity. And I think it’ll be good for his psyche to fully embrace Linsanity, rather than remove himself from it.
I don’t know if these are the reasons why Lin confesses to “rarely” watching footage of his games during Linsanity. If they are, then it makes me a little concerned. But if it’s more about not wanting to live in the past and wanting to create a new bigger and better future for himself, then that is healthy. I think it’s actually both. Lin definitely does not want to keep re-living the glory days of Linsanity, like that’s the best thing that’s ever going to happen to his career. So I think that’s part of why he tends to remove himself from the whole “Linsanity” thing. And I totally get that. But I also think he’s self-conscious about “Linsanity” and hasn’t fully embraced what he did during Linsanity and he may never do so. It’s not too big of a deal now that I have the sense that he feels he’s capable of something even bigger and better than what he did during Linsanity and has his eyes on having sustained, long-term success as an NBA star.
I am glad to hear that he does, at least, look at footage from his games during Linsanity to see if there are things he did during that magical few weeks that he’s gotten away from, because I definitely notice him going away from some things that worked well for him during Linsanity, although Lin is a much better, more complete player now than he was during Linsanity. I ‘m sure his trainers/coaches forced Lin to watch footage of games during Linsanity, because I don’t see Lin doing that on his own, due to him still be self-conscious of it.
Overall, I’m glad the interview further reinforces my feelings that Lin is in a very good place psychologically, spiritually and physically to compete and win this upcoming season with the Lakers.