Someone once asked me which NBA team I was supporting this season. I looked at him straight in the eye and said “The Atlanta Hawks.”
Shock ensues. I was supporting a team that was projected to be at the bottom of the rankings this year with no hope of ever getting into the playoffs.
But you see, I’m following the Hawks because of one player – Jeremy Lin. Now your next question would be why am I following one of the most average players in NBA history.
I mean looking at Jeremy Lin, you would see nothing remarkable. He’s a decent shooter and he has a few highlight plays every now and then but the point is, he’s nothing special. He does hold the novelty of being the only Harvard graduate in the league right now. He’s a point guard at a time when point guards are at all their all time greatest. You have Stephen Curry, who can shoot the three ball better than anyone in history. You have Russell Westbrook who is a walking triple double. You have Derrick Rose who is making an impossible comeback. There are about twenty or so guards that are better than Jeremy Lin.
Yet I still follow him. I watched while he played with James Harden on the new look Rockets. I watched him play abysmally as a Laker. I watched his rebirth as a terrific sixth man on the Hornets. I endured that horrific Nets season when he got injured in the very first game. And now I’m watching him on the Hawks. He is a journeyman among journeymen.
I became a fan around eight years ago when I was playing NBA 2K. Back then, nobody knew that the Golden State Warriors were going to be the offensive juggernaut they were going to be. I just wanted to play the Warriors because the duo of Steph Curry and Monta Ellis was so intriguing. And there on the bench was this Chinese player named Lin. He was suddenly on my radar because my favorite player prior to Jeremy was Yao Ming.
And then 2012 rolled in and Linsanity happened. About to be cut from the New York Knicks and probably one step away from walking out of the NBA forever, Jeremy did the impossible. He became a sensation in a town that loved sensations.
I wasn’t able to watch him scorch the Nets when Linsanity officially started but I watched every game after. I watched him beat the Dallas Mavericks – the defending champions. I watched him go toe to toe with Kobe freaking Bryant. I watched him call for the isolation play in the dying minutes of that game in Toronto and bury that three point shot to win the game. People were cheering him on Toronto’s home court. He was incandescent. For one moment in time, he had glory.
And just like that, Linsanity ended. Melo returned, D’antoni got fired, teams learned how to ice Lin and eventually he got injured. But a fan was born.
I guess the reason I love Jeremy so much is because like him, I’m a bench player. I’m never the star in any situation. Nobody looks up and says, hey let’s get Andrei, he can play/do well. But I always crave for that one moment of glory – that moment when the klieg lights are on you and just for a time, you feel like you are a champ.
I’m always on the bench, whether at work or at a play, and I’m always looking for my personal Linsanity. And for that moment to happen, I have to keep improving myself. I have to never stop being better than I was before. It’s because you never know when you’ll be called for your moment of glory and when you do, you can’t drop that ball. You have to milk it for all its worth. You have to give it your all because you don’t know when it will end.
So this 2019, before we start a New Year together, my wish for me and you is to have our own moment of glory next year – our very own version of Linsanity. Be ready. Be prepared to seize that moment. And if doesn’t come, be ready for 2020 and the year after that. It’s always next man up. Let’s get ready to believe.
Happy New Year everyone!