Friday, February 10, 2012
Jeremy Lin getting overwhelmed
By Ian Begley
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- This whole "Linsanity" thing has become a bit overwhelming for New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.
"Things are changing so much and everyone wants to talk to me and my family," said Lin, who's gone from 15th man on the end of the Knicks' bench to the talk of the NBA in the past seven days. "We're very low-key people and private people, so sometimes it's a little tough."
As a result, there has been an inordinate amount of attention heaped upon the 23-year-old guard, who was asked Friday if this past week's lovefest has been overwhelming.
"Uh, yeah. Yeah. But when I get on the court and I play with our team, none of us are thinking about all of this other stuff that's going on," the former Harvard standout said. "It's just basketball and that's what we enjoy."
Lin and the Knicks (11-15) take on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). Lin has averaged 25 points and eight assists in his past three games -- all Knicks wins.
In his first career start, Lin had 28 points and eight assists against Utah. He followed up with 23 points and 10 assists against Washington. He is the first player since LeBron James to have at least 20 points and eight assists in his first two starts.
"He's a very smart point guard, [something] that I was kind of searching for," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "He did it and can continue to do it. It's put everybody back in the role where they feel comfortable and are producing."
Not everyone is so impressed. Bryant was asked about Lin following the Lakers' win over the Celtics on Thursday.
"What?" he said. "No idea. I know who he is, but I really don't know what's going on too much about him. I don't even know what he's done. I have no idea what you guys are talking about. I'll take a look at [the game film] tonight, though."
When pressed further, Bryant said: "I've heard about him and stuff like that, but what's the ... Is he getting triple-doubles and stuff?"
Not quite, but his play has been impressive, especially for someone who was released twice during the preseason and spent six days with the Knicks' D-League affiliate last month.
Since his star turn, Lin has been inundated with interview requests. There were about 25 media members at the team's shootaround Friday, and three Asian outlets were represented.
"I love it, I love it. I'm glad that it's happening to him, in all honesty," Tyson Chandler said of all of the attention heaped on Lin. "It couldn't happen to a better guy. Because he's maybe one of the one few guys who can take all of this. ... The way he goes about things, you would never know all of this stuff was going on."
Lin and his family have gotten a kick out of all the nicknames people are coming up with for him. There's the most popular Linsanity, but also Linsane, Linning, Jeremy "My Shot is Fall" Lin, Super Lintendo, among others.
"I didn't know that you could turn Lin into so many things because we've never done it before," Lin said at shootaround on Friday. "So me and my family were just laughing last night because I guess we underestimated how creative everyone could be."
Lin's sudden emergence into the popular lexicon has parallels to Tim Tebow's rise. "Tebowing" became a hot phrase and thing to do after the Denver Broncos quarterback's rise to prominence. Lin, who is deeply religious like Tebow, looks up to him.
"I've drawn actually a lot of inspiration just because he's such a polarizing figure but I think the things he says in interviews, his approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much," Lin said in a radio interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco on Thursday. "I actually want to be able to do some of the things that he does in terms of the amount of charity work and the non-profit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring to me about him."
Lin has a foundation in his own name that is dedicated to serving underprivileged members of the community. Its aim is to provide "financial, educational and spiritual assistance and to make a lasting difference in the lives of others."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Jared Zwerling was used in this report.