The Jeremy Lin Show
I don't blog sports. I don't watch sports. I don't play sports . . . anymore. But I used to play basketball, and like a long-time player -- which I was, having played from the time I was a kid until I was about thirty, when I stopped because I couldn't outjump the other guys anymore -- I have good court vision, so I notice things going on in basketball even without my paying attention, and I therefore knew that Jeremy Lin was the real thing over a year ago when I read a long article on him. I didn't even need to watch him play because the facts and statistics told the story, but he wasn't getting much attention because if the stereotype about white guys is that they can't jump, the stereotype about Asian guys is that they can't even do that! And if you can't jump . . . well, you can't play ball. Or so they say. But Jeremy Lin has now got the jump on everybody and made even Kobe Bryant, who was dissing the kid before Friday, eat a bit of humble pie!
I don't waste my time watching videos, but I chose to use up ten minutes of my life watching the highlights of Lin's performance Friday night in leading the Knicks to their 92 to 85 victory over the Lakers, and if you want to see some smart ballplaying by a kid who's solid in every way that counts on the court, then give yourself ten minutes to enjoy the Lin show. He's not spectacular in any single skill, but he's sound in every one of them, and the total effect is awesome! And that's not a word that I use lightly. He has great ball control, complete control of his dribble. He has excellent court vision and can see an open man across court and get the ball to the guy on a cross-court pass that you're not even supposed to try because it's so risky, thereby demonstrating exceptional passing skills. He can move -- the fake, the roll, the quick step, whatever, he can do them. He's a little guy, only six feet, three inches, but he's not afraid to drive to the basket against the big men and put in a lay-up, thus proving that he can get off the ground if he needs to. He can get physical and even score while getting fouled. He can rebound. He can shoot with deadly aim, even three-pointers, which might be the one skill in which his ability approaches spectacular. In the past four games, he has scored 25, 28, 23, and 38 points! But where he truly is spectacular is in his mind for the game. You watch him play, and you see a very smart ballplayer. He knows what needs to be done, and he gets it done, either by himself or by setting it up with teammates.
And that's my judgment of him after seeing this single performance.
The question now is how well he can handle the intense pressure. He's an Asian-American star basketball player who's done the unexpected, caught everyone off guard, and performed in an unprecedented way by scoring more points in his first three starts than anyone in NBA history. Every opposing player has now heard of him, even Bryant -- who only 24 hours earler didn't seem to know who Lin was -- and they'll all now come gunning for him. Especially Bryant, who reportedly said about the Knicks' victory:
"Enjoy it. They'll receive judgment next season."And he wasn't talking just about the team -- he meant Lin in particular. Revenge.