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Jeremy Lin Goes From Zero to Hero

Worldpress.org, February 11, 2012

Jeremy Lin has gone from signing a 10-day contract with the New York Knicks and sleeping on his brother’s couch, to a guaranteed $635K contact for the remainder of the season.

Lin’s sudden rise from obscure reserve to the toast of Broadway is making the New York Knicks must-see TV from America to Asia.

 Ironically, while Lin’s performances have been seen in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, they have been missed by many in New York. A dispute between Time Warner Cable and MSG Network is keeping the Knicks off that system.

Nationwide, Lin has also captured the affections of many Asian-Americans, as well as others who are enamored by his underdog story.

Lin played four years at Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he became the first Ivy League player to record 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals.

Still, he went undrafted in 2010 before signing with his hometown Golden State Warriors. Lin played in 29 games last season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 assists in 9.8 minutes per game. He was cut on Dec. 9 last year, picked up by the Houston Rockets and then waived again on Dec. 24 because of roster space limitations the day before the lockout-shortened NBA season began. He signed with the Knicks three days later. Lin, a California native came along at the perfect time for the Knicks, who are currently on the outside looking in for a playoff spot.

The only player from Harvard University to reach the NBA since Ed Smith made 11 appearances for the Knicks in 1953-1954, Lin is boosting the appeal of the Knicks from New York to Beijing. The 6’3” point guard is the first US-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to join the league.

Lin’s parents - Gie-Ming and Shirley – are both only five foot six and emigrated from Taiwan in the 1970s, although his mother’s roots go back to China. Though Jeremy's father had never picked up a ball until he came to Palo Alto, California to further pursue his dream of receiving a PHD, he had recorded numerous tapes of NBA Greats. Lin's father was a student of the game, and enjoyed watching Magic Johnson, Kareem, and Michael Jordan.  

The cold weather in Taipei did little to dampen the enthusiasm of NBA fans struck by “Linmania.” More than 500 fans turned up at the Pacific Core Living Mall early in the morning (Friday night in New York) to watch the Knicks’ televised game broadcast from Madison Square Garden to support Lin.

 
The Chinese press has been Linthusiastic as well, and full of Lin’s “benmingnian,” meaning the Zodiac year of his animal sign. Starting from the day you are born, every twelve years mark the arrival of your zodiac year. Lin was born August 23, 1988, meaning this Year of the Dragon is his benmingnian. In Eastern symbology, the Dragon is considered a benevolent creature that brings about good luck and good fortune. Of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon is the most special, as it is a mystical being rather than an earthly animal. It is sometimes called a karmic sign. In this context, bigger than life is very much a Dragon thing.  
 
It is Chinese belief that your benmingnian could bring great misfortune, unless you wear red every single day of the year. According to the Chinese media, since the Knicks have orange in their jersey, and red and yellow make orange, Lin is covered.
 
Meanwhile, confused commentary from Chinese netizens revolves around Lin’s ethnicity (some confused "career" with "Korean"), and whether or not he counts as Chinese or American. One netizen claimed that if Lin is really Chinese, then most of the players in the NBA have to be considered African.
 
In Changhua County, Lin’s uncle Lin Heng-cheng rose early to watch the game like many other Taiwanese. According to his uncle, Jeremy Lin’s father went to the US on a study scholarship and settled there, only returning with Jeremy Lin last year to visit relatives. Lin Heng-cheng’s first impression of his nephew was that he was a refined, unassuming and polite young man, adding that the whole family was now very proud of him and hoped that he would return to visit everyone once the basketball season is over.
 
Kobe Bryant, a 13-times All Star, also saluted Lin. "It is a great story. It is a testament to perseverance and hard work. It is a good example to kids everywhere," said Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
 
From Lin-sanity and Linning to Super Lin-tendo, Shots are Fal-Lin', and Linning and grinning, the headlines and catchphrases are multiplying for the 23-year-old guard.
 
“I didn't know that you could turn Lin into so many things,” Lin said on Friday. “Me and my family were just laughing last night because I guess we underestimated how creative everyone could be.”
 
Everyone is expecting something to drop off – either the wins and or the numbers, but so far they haven’t.  Fans everywhere are hoping the Knicks will win game after game and Lin will continue to mesmerize. And watch out once Stat and Melo come back - the hype will only increase.
 
Which brings us back to the year of the Dragon, which began on January 23, 2012. Since the Dragon is mythical, this indicates a connection with the transmuting power of heaven, hence this is a year to achieve what seemed impossible before. And a quick word about timing. The Dragon is associated with Spring. This means one needs to get off to a fast start in 2012 as things are going to happen early in the year.
 
Stay tuned for more Linsanity and may the celestial Dragon bring great good luck to everyone – especially the Knicks.
 

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