Undrafted Harvard graduate, first Chinese-American NBA player Jeremy Lin has overturned the New York Knicks’ series of losses to seven consecutive wins after defeating the Sacramento Kings last night in the score of 100-85.
The 23-year-old Asian-American Christian point guard has set the record of scoring 136 points in his first five starts, most by any NBA player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976. In 66 season of Knicks basketball, Lin, along with two former players, has put together six straight games of 20 or more points and 7 or more assists.
Sport media commentators, such as NBA legend Magic Johnson, said that the team work that Lin brings to the court is what is so lacking in NBA today. His leadership and basketball skills were shown in the streaks of Knicks’ wins to be solid and not a flash in the pan.
Last August, Lin traveled to Taiwan to participate in Yao Ming’s charity basketball tournament, and was interviewed by Good TV, a Taiwan-based Chinese Christian media. In the interview, he shared the ups and downs in his NBA career. He also said that a number of Bible-verses have given him great strengths, but one of his favorite verses is Romans 3:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
Lin said that in difficult situations God will use all kinds of sufferings to lead us closer to him, which is the source of his strength for never giving up.
Within the last year, Lin was dropped by two teams and finally landed on the New York Knicks. His journey to being crowned the king of Knicks was marked with disappointments. Although there were times that he wanted to give up, he would reflect before God on the reason of why he is playing basketball. Am I playing for the enjoyment of the fans or for his family or for himself? Why is his joy dictated by how he performs on the courts?
In an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, located a short-distance from his home town Palo Alto, Lin spoke about using the Bible to get through hurt feelings that he experienced when his former Golden State Warriors team decided to release him without any real chance to play.
"I definitely didn't see it coming and got pulled out midway through the first practice. My agent and I had zero idea that was going to happen," Lin said. "It was really tough for me at the time but I just tried to hold on to a lot of the stuff in the Bible that God gives to trust, have joy in the sufferings, and trust in his perfect plan. That's what I tried my best to do and I'm thankful the way things turned out."
It took some time, some rough nights, long prayers and countless Bible studies. Lin confided in his pastor Stephen Chen.
“It was hard. I could make him no promises. To trust what God is doing is definitely a lesson that Jeremy is continuing to learn and not to trust in his results.” Stephen Chen, pastor of the English ministry at Chinese Church in Christ in Mountain View, told the Silicon Valley Mercury News.
Lin wrestled against doubt and anxiety, but later realized that it’s a battle against arrogance. He said that God has humbled him, and the reason why he play ball is to reflect God’s image and love and to glorify His name. On the courts, he said that he depends on the Lord for strength, learning to surrender himself completely to Him, and believes in God’s guidance and absolute control.
"I'm not playing to prove anything to anybody," Lin said to 95.7 The Game. "That affected my game last year and my joy last year. With all the media attention, all the love from the fans (in the Bay Area), I felt I needed to prove myself. Prove that I'm not a marketing tool, I'm not a ploy to improve attendance. Prove I can play in this league. But I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore."
While “linsanity” snowballs, Lin has kept his humility as shown through his speeches on the field and off-field and from the testimonies of his teammates. From his past sharing, he believes that whether he wins or loses God is in control of every aspect of his life, and the most important thing is to have the peace from within that comes from God.
"I knew him before he was Linmania. He's still the same humble guy," said Kings coach Keith Smart, who was Lin's coach last season with the Warriors, to the Silicon Valley Mercury News. "The guy has not changed a bit, which is real special for a young man."
In the interview with The Game, Lin also spoke about his respect for the NFL Player Tim Tebow, who plays as the quarterback for the Denver Broncos and another Christian player noted for his displays of faith.
"Actually a lot of inspiration just because (Tebow'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 on Thursday. "I want to be able to do some of the things that he does in terms of the amount of charity work and the nonprofit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring to me about him."
Jeremy Lin Game Winner @ Toronto Raptors 14/2/12: