Friday, February 24, 2012
NBA holds press conference just for Lin
By Jared Zwerling
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After Linsanity started spreading like wildfire in early February, the portable wall that separated the dining and press room at Madison Square Garden had to be removed. The media explosion could not be contained.
Roughly 30 more chairs were added to a 20-seat press area. Not to mention, there were added TV cameras and extra reporters that had to resort to standing.
Friday night in Orlando, in preparation for the NBA All-Star Rising Stars game, the league sent out this advisory: "*Reminder* No player pregame media availability, ONLY POSTGAME AVAILABILITY. Locker Rooms are closed."
But not for Jeremy Lin.
The hottest name in sports had his own press conference before the game. The attention was as if NBA commissioner David Stern was giving his annual midseason review and look-ahead. (That's happening Saturday night, by the way.)
The NBA reported that 336 foreign media members from 39 countries will be in Orlando, including 90 from China, 21 from Japan and 11 from the Philippines. Many of them were on hand to hear from Lin. In total, there were about 175 reporters in the main interview room at the Amway Center when the Knicks point guard went up to the podium at 7 p.m. ET. Unreal.
Here are a few highlights of Lin's presser (in chronological order):
Landry Fields, Lin's sophomore teammate in the Rising Stars game, surprised the media by opening up the press conference. He asked Lin who the MVP of the San Francisco Pro-Am, a summer league in the Bay Area, was in 2009 and 2010. Lin, laughing, said "Landry Fields was the MVP of the San Francisco Pro-Am 2009, 2010. He played for the Oakland Believers, and he doesn't have a lot of friends."
Lin on being overlooked: "I think [my ethnicity] has something to do with it. I don't know how much. But I think just being Asian-American, obviously when you look at me, I'm going to have to prove myself more so again and again, and some people may not believe it. ... It's something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder. But I'm very proud to be Asian-American."
Lin on his and Iman Shumpert's creative idea for the slam dunk contest (Shumpert pulled out due to a knee injury): "Iman came up with it. Landry was going to roll a couch out with a cover over it. I was going to be sleeping underneath it and then we were going to pull the cover. I was going to throw to Iman an alley-oop from the couch, and he was going to jump over both me and the couch, windmill it and then sit down and have Landry hand him a Sprite [the sponsor of the slam dunk contest]."
Lin on his jersey number 17: "Seven was my number last year and it's one of God's numbers that he uses throughout the Bible. I chose 17 because the one was kind of to represent me and the seven was to represent God."
Lin on his plans if he wasn't at All-Star Weekend: "I was going to plan on going to some warm, tropical beach area and vacation with my family. But I'm glad I'm here."
Lin on a story that he went to the chapel at the Miami Heat's arena to pray that he wouldn't get cut by the Knicks: "Yeah. I went to chapel with Jerome Jordan and Landry Fields and the chaplain asked us to share a prayer request. I knew Feb. 10 was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart, just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year."
Lin on Mike D'Antoni's offensive system: "I know there's the theory that it's just a perfect system for me and I agree it is a perfect system for me, and I'm thankful for coach D'Antoni because he really is an offensive genius, the way he designed the system."
Lin on his latest splurge: "No [smiling]. I'm still a minimum guy. That hasn't changed."