As we all know, Jeremy Lin just had his introductory press conference with the Brooklyn Nets. Although it would have been nice to see more of Lin, I’m actually glad they decided to do a press conference to introduce all of the new guys together, with the exception of a few who apparently had scheduling conflicts. I think that by not singling out Jeremy Lin, that conveys the team culture that Atkinson and Marks care so much about developing.
To be honest, the press conference wasn’t all that interesting, but the interviews afterward I found to be quite shocking (in a very good way) in some instances. Here’s an example:
I’ve never heard Lin verbally express, in a public interview format, so many of the things that Lin fans have been saying in such a blunt manner all at once. Sure, I’ve heard Lin mention snippets of these things here and there, but I always felt him measuring his words. Not this time.
I’m sure Lin says these things to those close to him, but for him to be comfortable enough to verbally express this to an interviewer is shocking to me. I’ve always wanted Lin to be more blunt, publicly, about the sacrifices he’s made for all his teams and about how he’s been only limited by lack of minutes, usage and empowerment, etc. But I’ve always understood why Lin felt he has had to measure his words in the past. The reason why, Lin being this blunt now, is important is that it tells me Lin knows he has complete trust in Atkinson and the Nets organization. If he didn’t feel this way, he’d be more careful about how he phrases these things like he has been in the past. Jeremy Lin has always been extremely careful and considered with what he says to the public. So the fact that felt so comfortable to be so blunt is a great sign to me.
Also, a small detail that I think is actually quite telling, along these same lines, is that during the press conference, Lin kept referring to coach Kenny Atkinson by Atkinson’s first name: “Kenny”. Lin had to correct himself because he didn’t want to sound disrespectful. But this is a big sign to me that Lin is probably much closer to Atkinson than a lot of people think. Lin also knew Atkinson well before he became head coach, so I think it’s not natural now for Lin to call Kenny Atkinson “coach Atkinson”. It may take him some time to get used to “coach” or “coach Atkinson.”
The other great write up I saw from today is from the New York Daily News entitled: “Jeremy Lin has grown since Linsanity with Knicks, now expects to be veteran leader on Nets”. There are lots of great quotes from Lin in this article. Lin talks about Linsanity in a way that makes me feel he has really moved past Linsanity it in a very positive way, psychologically. I think for a time, he had a bit of an aversion to “Linsanity” and really wanted to distance himself from it. Now, Lin accepts that people will always link him to the “Linsanity phenomenon” and he seems more comfortable with it than I think he ever has. But at the same time, he does see it as dehumanizing, but not in a negative way. It’s a very nuanced view that I’ve kind of always wanted Lin to have about Linsanity.
I think in the past, there were a few times where it seemed like Lin felt too self-conscious the next day after he had a “Linsanity” game. I think those days are finally over for Lin and he can perform at a high level without feeling self-conscious about it. This is exactly the psychological state I want Lin to be in, so I was very glad to see him articulate it so well. Here’s the full excerpt:
“Even now, when I come back, I walk around anywhere and (Linsanity) is the only thing I hear,” Lin said at HSS Training Center. “I will be myself but I don’t really draw too many comparisons to Linsanity, the phenomenon. I am just going to keep playing. People will always kind of compare me to that. In a lot of ways, not in a negative way or a way that I am offended, but it kind of dehumanizes me to refer to me as a phenomenon. I am going to be here, keep playing my game, do the best that I can and whatever you guys want to call it, that is up to you guys.”
For me, personally, the other quote from the article that I was very pleased to see is this one:
“I am in a much different place mentally as a person than I was when I was with the Knicks. So when you talk about that platform, I want to embrace it. I am not just saying Asians. If you look at what is going on in the world and a lot of the violence that is going in the world in terms of the justice system and all these different things — that is real life. That is so much bigger than basketball. I have a voice because of basketball, to be able to talk and influence and do things that are related to things that are affecting people’s lives and things every day. That is a very unique situation.”
I think no matter our profession, I hope we are also all responsible citizens. And I’m glad that Lin understands this and is doing his part. I was glad to see Lin speaking out about #BlackLivesMatter:
It’s not about picking sides, it’s about doing what you think is the right thing as a responsible citizen and speaking out on things that really matter, not just things that entertain us. This is why I’ve been so adamant about using my own very modest platform to do everything I can to prevent a Trump presidency, including writing this article. It’s an exhausting job and I can’t wait until this election is over so I don’t have to spend anymore time and mental/psychological energy on this effort.
Normally, I hate talking about politics, because I believe everyone has a right to their own political beliefs. But to me, when you have the most unqualified, unstable, unknowledgeable candidate in history this is no longer about politics. And I’m not going to stand idly by and not do something about it, even though I know it probably annoys the readers of this blog and my Twitter followers. But if I didn’t do whatever I felt I needed to do to prevent a Trump presidency and Trump becomes president, I could never forgive myself. Again, this is not about politics to me. This is about saving the country and the world from utter devastation. It’s about being a responsible citizen. I hope you all respect that and I’m sincerely sorry if you feel offended or annoyed by my efforts. That is not my intention.
Getting back to Jeremy Lin and basketball. The other really revealing thing about the NY Daily News article is how Lin approached his free agency. Here’s an excerpt:
“I made this analogy earlier, but for me, the way I was thinking of free agency was like when you invest in a startup company,” Lin said. “You don’t necessarily look at the product right then and there. That is a big part of it, but you’re kind of betting on the founder a lot of times. You’re betting on what that person is capable of doing, because sometimes as you go through the process, the final product is going to change a lot. That’s very common in startups and I feel like that’s the kind of how this is. I’m betting on certain people, I’m betting on Kenny, I’m betting on (GM) Sean (Marks), I’m betting on myself, I’m betting on Brook Lopez, I’m betting on the way I feel. If I didn’t feel like this has a chance to go where I want to go, then I wouldn’t have signed up for it.”
I was very happy to hear this, because before Lin had made his decision, you all know that I had been harassing Lin periodically on Twitter to join the Nets, my top pick for Lin by far. And one of my selling points to Lin is that Atkinson/Marks Nets is a great opportunity for him to get in on the ground floor and help build and lead a Spurs-Like culture. Here are a couple of Tweets I sent to Lin regarding this:
I’m sure Lin didn’t see any of my Tweets, but it’s great, at least, to see that he was thinking along the same lines. I’m not surprised, though, because Lin is very smart and savvy about all of this.
Overall, my impression is that Lin is completely at home with the Nets and he’s more than ready to take on a much bigger role and lead the BrookLin Nets.