HOUSTON – As the NBA’s Houston Rockets enter the playoffs, Jeremy Lin’s game is getting better. After an inconsistent winter, Lin has found his rhythm, averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 assists a game in the Rockets’ last nine games.
Lin became a superstar virtually overnight after earning a starting role with the New York Knicks last season. Getting playing time because of injuries to key players, Lin averaged 24.6 points and 9.2 assists in his first 10 games with the Knicks. The Asian-American player’s sudden rise captured the attention of New York and the basketball world, spawning what became known as “Linsanity.”
Now part of the NBA’s best offensive team, Lin has taken a backseat to offensive stars James Harden and Chandler Parsons. The eighth-seeded Rockets open the playoffs against top-seeded Oklahoma City Sunday.
“I think I’ve proven I’m a young player who has talent and yet has a long way to go,” Lin told ESPNNewYork.com in February. “That’s the way I see myself. I’ve shown I can do some stuff. I’ve shown flashes of being a great player. But I’ve also shown the reverse as well, so it just takes some time.”
Lin played for Palo Alto (Calif.) High School, winning a state championship in 2006 while averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds, and five steals per game. He was named Northern California Division II Player of the Year, but many local colleges passed on the 6-foot-3-inch athlete. He ended up playing for Harvard University without a sports scholarship.
Lin went undrafted out of college, but signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2010. NBA Commissioner David Stern acknowledged that Lin might have gone undrafted because he was Asian, according to ESPN.
Lin told WORLD in 2011 that the frustration from being undrafted gave him perspective.
“Every time a tough situation comes around, I don’t need to question if God is with me, but I do need to see how I can best glorify Him and if there’s anything I need to grow in,” he said. “Everything happens through His perfect plan – so much of my life has confirmed it.”
While the initial craze of Linsanity has quieted, Lin still enjoys a global fan base and a platform he puts to use. He launched the Jeremy Lin Foundation for underprivileged children in February, which will raise funds for Workshop Houston, the Yellowstone Academy, and the Houston’s Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees.
“I’ve learned to understand what it means to have a platform and how to use that the right way,” Lin told The Associated Press. “I’m still learning what that means every day. I feel like this is a step forward in being able to use the attention that we [NBA players] are given from society to be able to bring it upon other people in need. I figure, if you’ve got a lot of cameras around, you might as well say something worthwhile.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Zachary Abate writes for WorldMag.com, where this story first appeared.)