Jeremy Lin confronts critics

July, 18, 2012
7/18/12
2:52
PM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
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In his first hours as a Rocket, after a phone call from New York's Glen Grunwald ended his time as a Knick, Jeremy Lin spoke to Pablo S. Torre of Sports Illustrated.

Lin, so recently a player in whom Knick fans could see no flaw has recently been painted more as riddled with them. Lin tackled the most popular criticisms.

On the idea that he's about nothing but money

Lin points out that he's spending the summer at his parent's house, famously lived a chunk of last season on his brother's couch, and has turned down the opportunity to earn "triple digit" endorsements. No, that doesn't mean $100-plus in endorsements. That means $100 million-plus. Of all the firms eager to align his face with their brands, he has said yes to only three: Volvo, Steiner Sports and Nike. He may well lead the league in declined endorsements -- hardly the approach of a man who values money above all else.

On the idea he should have tried harder to stay a Knick

Lin says that would have been his strong preference. He traveled to Los Angeles this summer to dine with Mike Woodson, and came away excited -- even though Woodson, who was in Los Angeles to visit Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Landry Fields, said he lacked time to venture to Palo Alto to see Lin.

Then Lin's relations with the Knicks went like this: He learned the Knicks didn't want to make him a contract offer, but instead wanted the market to set his value. He heard they were going to bring in other point guards. He signed the only offer he had on the table, from the Rockets. He learned online about the Raymond Felton trade. And the next time he talked to the Knicks in any meaningful way, as Lin tells it, it was to field a phone call learning the Knicks would not match.

On the idea he should have played in the playoffs

Knick fans are mad, now, that Lin didn't play in the playoffs after pronouncing himself "85 percent." This criticism stings Lin, who sees it as revisionist history, from people who misunderstood all along. Torre writes that "Lin was not 85 percent healthy, he says, but rather 15 percent away from the absolute minimum threshold to play."

Meanwhile, in real time, the idea he ought not play came with plenty of support. Lin says "every single vet on our team that has been in the league longer than five years pulled me aside and told me that I shouldn't play. And I had arguments with them about why I should."

Lin also tells Torre that during the playoffs, James Dolan himself told Lin: "I have plans for you in the future ... This is a long-term investment. Don't rush back."

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

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