I haven’t had a chance to go through all of the coverage on Jeremy Lin during Media Day, but I did notice that Lin is the most at ease and confident I’ve seen him in a very long time. I mean, you have to be really confident to pull off the crazy hair that Lin is rocking at the moment. It’d be different if Lin is the type of player who likes drawing attention to himself, like Dennis Rodman, but Lin isn’t, so for him to go into media day with his hair all spiked up actually says a lot of good things to me about where his psyche is at. I’m not proud to admit that the hairstyle is growing on me and I’m curious to see what he plans to do with it. Apparently, he and five or six of his buddies plan on doing something with his hairstyle, meaning there’s an actual purpose for why he’s growing his hair out like this.
Getting back to the connection to Lin’s psyche and his crazy hair. Of course, LIn knew he would get a lot of attention for his hair style during media day and beyond. So for him to have this crazy hair style, complemented with a headband, no less, to start this season says that he’s comfortable having attention drawn to him. This is good to see, because after Linsanity and even during Linsanity, Lin did everything to avoid the spotlight. And I think subconsciously, that caused him to be a bit too self-conscious. When he came to Houston, he was really self-conscious about being portrayed as the “face-of-the-franchise” (this was before they got Harden) and I think he made conscious efforts to try not to overshadow his teammates during training camp (again, this was before Harden joined the Rockets) in order to overcompensate for all the attention he was getting from the Houston media. It’s good to see that those days are behind him now. There’s no way you can be self-conscious and rock this outlandish hairstyle that Lin’s got going on right now. I think Lin feels more at ease with himself now than probably he’s ever been during his NBA career. And I’m hoping that this ease and confidence will translate on the court.
Aside from a new hair style, Lin also seems more willing to promote his strengths and debunk unfair criticisms of his game. In the past, he has always been overly humble and self-critical at his own expense. He’d rarely (if ever) point out unfair criticisms hurled at him. He’s even gone so far as to take ownership of these unfair criticisms, because I think he thinks that this is what it means to be humble or a good Christian. I don’t know. Just a guess. But now, it’s so great to see, in an interview he did with The Charlotte Observer, that he’s finally addressing the unfair criticisms and rampant myths about his game.
Here’s what Lin had to say when asked about main misperceptions about the way he plays basketball. By the way, it’s awesome that Scott Fowler from The Charlotte Observer is perceptive enough to even ask this question. Most writers seem to just buy into all the misperceptions about Lin. Anyway, here’s Lin’s response: “One was defense. People are like, ‘Oh, he’s a terrible defender.’ But honestly, if you really dig into the numbers, if you look at my isolation defense numbers, you will see me leading all point guards in blocks per 48 minutes. People think, ‘Oh man, he’s not that athletic.’ To me, people just see me being Asian and they think a certain thing. That’s not all of it, but that’s part of the story.”
In the past, Lin would have kept all of this stuff to himself and just accepted the public criticisms, knowing how unfair they are, because he felt that’s the humble thing to do or whatever. So it was a little shocking, in a very good way, that Lin actually responded very strongly by even, dare I say, bragging about how he leads all point guards in blocks per 48 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Lin defend himself so adamantly. Usually, when he pulls up a stat, it’s usually to point out an area he needs to work on or something. He also wasn’t timid about linking misperceptions about him with his race. Lin has done this in the past, but this time it felt even more blatant and unapologetic.
All of these are great signs for me. He seems to have taken a big leap in his psychological recovery from his mistreatment in Houston and L.A (looks like I don’t need to write Lin any open letters anytime soon). I think part of the reason why he seems to have made such great strides in his psyche is because he’s, once again, back in the underdog role and he’s got nothing to lose. He’s seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There’s really nothing left to be anxious of. So from this mental state of mind, there’s really not much that can really phase him anymore. With no expectations on him, he’s just going to do what he does and let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully, he’ll be able to maintain this ease and confidence throughout this season. If so, I think we’re going to see plenty of Linsanity this upcoming season.