Jeremy Lin shakes off criticism

Updated: July 25, 2012, 12:22 AM ET
By Jared Zwerling | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Jeremy Lin's sudden rise to fame with the New York Knicks and subsequent three-year, $25 million deal with the Houston Rockets has made the point guard a news headliner around the world. And not always with his best interest in mind, which Lin is fully aware.

Lin
Lin

"I will always, always have doubters," Lin told the San Jose Mercury News. "But I really want to reach my potential to bring glory to God. That is more motivation than haters and doubters. I want to work just as hard, give just as much, whether or not I have haters."

Lin pointed out that he was humble during the peak of Linsanity in February and March, when he averaged 18.2 points and 7.7 assists in 25 starts for the Knicks. He didn't take advantage of his celebrity status, even though he admits Linsanity got to him.

"If I'm being honest, in some ways, yes," Lin said. "I fought it every day. But I think subconsciously it had its effect, everyone catering to you. People were saying only good things for so long that when people said negative stuff, it was like, 'Whoa, what's going on?' "

Since signing an offer sheet the Knicks declined to match, the 23-year-old Lin has received criticism that he's selfish and concerned only with money, especially when the Rockets upped the contract amount.

First, they were going to pay him about $9 million in each of the final two years, but then they made it $14.8 million in the third year. But Lin said he had nothing to do with that.

"I didn't go back to them and ask for more money," Lin said. "It wasn't like they gave me the choice to sign one of the two and I chose the one that would hurt the Knicks. I had one contract offer. That was it."

Lin managed to limit his interviews and talk show appearances during the height of Linsanity, and he only accepted sponsorship deals with Volvo and Steiner Sports. He was also signed by Nike, but that started in 2010.

By signing with the Rockets, Lin passed up millions in potential earnings, which inspired Forbes to write an online article titled, "Jeremy Lin May Be The Dumbest Harvard Grad Ever."

But Lin knows that's not at all what he's about.

"It just comes down to knowing who I am as a person," Lin said. "People who know me know I didn't want all this. I didn't ask for this. It was uncomfortable."

Jared Zwerling is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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