Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow on Time list

Updated: April 18, 2012, 10:57 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow were selected by Time magazine as two of its "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World."

Four other athletes made Time's list: tennis player Novak Djokovic; golfer Yani Tseng; soccer player Lionel Messi; and South African runner Oscar Pistorius.

The Jets traded for Tebow this offseason after the former Florida quarterback took the NFL by storm in leading a struggling Denver Broncos team to the playoffs and a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lin wrote the portion of the magazine piece on why Tebow was selected.

"Watching Tim Tebow play football, you can observe many things about his character. You see his fierce competitiveness, his strong work ethic and how he is a leader that his teammates trust and respect," Lin wrote.

"But it is the qualities that Tim, 24, embodies in his life off the field that truly set him apart. He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out. ... As athletes, we pour our hearts into winning games. Tim is a reminder that life is about much more than that."

Lin became a phenom this year when the Harvard graduate went from NBA journeyman and Knicks benchwarmer to starter, averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game to help turn around New York's season. Lin is recovering from surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote the section about Lin.

"Jeremy Lin's story is a great lesson for kids everywhere because it debunks and defangs so many of the prejudices and stereotypes that unfairly hold children back. He's dispelled the idea that Asian-American guards somehow couldn't hack it in the NBA -- and that being a world-class athlete on the court is somehow at odds with being an excellent student off the court. ..." Duncan wrote in Time.

"Jeremy cares only about one thing -- winning. And I don't care whether you are an Asian-American kid, white, black or Hispanic, Jeremy's story tells you that if you show grit, discipline and integrity, you too can get an opportunity to overcome the odds."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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