By Cameron Lee
March 22, 2016
Jeremy Lin’s road to the NBA is a grand story that we all need to know. Struggling with stereotypes and discrimination through the ranks, in a sport rarely occupied by Asian Americans, Jeremy Lin’s journey has been one of strength, endurance, desire and faith.
As a standout high school player at Palo Alto High School, Jeremy led his team to a 32-1 record in his senior year, ultimately upsetting a nationally ranked and famed Mater Dei team. Lin was named first team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year. Despite the accolades and achievements, the offers to play Division I basketball were few and far between. He visited several Pac 10 schools in California and desperately seeked opportunities to play at schools like Stanford and UCLA, which were both childhood goals for the lanky 6’3” guard of Taiwanese descent.
Lin was eventually recruited by Harvard and accepted. At Harvard, Lin excelled in basketball, averaging over 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in his junior year. He was even named All-Ivy League First Team in his junior and senior year campaigns.
Despite his successful career at Harvard, the stigma of being an Ivy League Asian-American basketball player was too risky for most teams, and Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. The Dallas Mavericks were the only team to invite him to play summer league basketball and, after bouncing back-and-forth from the Golden State Warriors to the D-league Reno Bighorns, then to the guard-heavy Houston Rockets, it was happenstance that ultimately gave Lin the opportunity to shine.
Soon after being waived by his hometown team, Golden State Warriors, and a short stint with the Houston Rockets, a series of freak injuries and events prompted the New York Knicks to claim Lin off of waivers. After playing only 55 minutes in his first 23 games, Lin finally got the opportunity play some significant minutes as a Knick against the New Jersey Nets. He had 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists leading a floundering Knicks team to a much needed victory.
Over a 12 game stretch, Lin averaged over 22 points and eight assists leading the New York Knicks to a 9–3 record. “Linsanity” took over ESPN, sports radio and social media over this time and Jeremy Lin became an unlikely household name in American sports.
After becoming a restricted free agent in 2012, Lin was signed to a hefty three-year deal with the Houston Rockets, later being traded to the Lakers before landing in the Queen City in July of 2015. Lin is currently playing crucial minutes off the bench as a 6th man averaging over 11 points a game.
We recently got to spend some time with the Charlotte Hornets guard to find out what he likes to do off the court in our new series called Off Court CLTure.
CLTure: What are you currently listening to?
Jeremy Lin: Been listening to some Rihanna, Bieber, Adele, a little bit of R&B, and hip hop.
CLTure: Who was your favorite basketball team growing up?
Jeremy Lin: The Warriors. Growing up in Bay area, that was always my team.
CLTure: What is your favorite type of Asian food and have you had a chance to find a some good spots here in Charlotte yet?
Jeremy Lin: My favorite type of Asian food is sushi. It’s definitely my favorite type of food in general, but I can’t say I’ve found a go-to spot in Charlotte, yet.
CLTure: Did you follow the Hornets at all as a kid?
Jeremy Lin: I didn’t follow the Hornets much as a kid, but I did have some Hornets gear that my mom bought me. Other than NBA Jam I didn’t know too much about the Hornets growing up.
CLTure: I know you are a big video gamer. What have you been playing when you have some free time?
Jeremy Lin: I always play Dota 2. I’ll usually play a couple times a week.
CLTure: Who was your favorite basketball player growing up?
Jeremy Lin: Definitely Jordan.
CLTure: Anyone else besides Jordan?
Jeremy Lin: Does it have to be a pro player?
Jeremy Lin: I would have to say my older brother, Josh.
CLTure: If you weren’t playing basketball for a living, what do you honestly think you would be doing?
Jeremy Lin: I’d probably be working in the community with the youth and under-privileged children.
CLTure: Thanks, Jeremy!
Check out the remaining 2016 schedule for the Charlotte Hornets