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Jeremy Lin’s ‘Linsanity’ Sheds Light on Enigmatic Figure

( [email protected] ) Sep 26, 2013 12:35 AM EDT
The magic of the documentary “Linsanity” isn’t so much that it captures the stranger-than-fiction rise of Jeremy Lin from basketball nobody to NBA stardom. It’s that it makes you feel as if you could be watching someone you know -- a brother, cousin, best friend -- and that the moments being captured are as authentic as the New York Knicks jersey hanging from Lin’s shoulders.
Jeremy Lin thinks he would have been offered a Division I basketball scholarship -- if he wasn't Asian American. Paola Kudacki/GQ

The magic of the documentary "Linsanity" isn't so much that it captures the stranger-than-fiction rise of Jeremy Lin from basketball nobody to NBA stardom.

It's that it makes you feel as if you could be watching someone you know -- a brother, cousin, best friend -- and that the moments being captured are as authentic as the New York Knicks jersey hanging from Lin's shoulders.

"Lin is shown in the soon-to-be-released movie (January 20th) cherishing a 'Lion King' blanket from childhood. He celebrates finding a heavily discounted mini-water fountain for his apartment. He sings for a roomful of friends and family -- and he's awful," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, few would care had Lin not captured the world's attention with his stirring run of performances for the Knicks in February 2012.

Lin speaks extensively about the importance of his religious faith, but that subject does not dominate the film.

 

Jeremy Lin shares his testimony to at least 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Identity Unleashed Conference held at Cow Palace in Daly City on Sept. 7, 2013. The Gospel Herald/Hudson Tsuei
Jeremy Lin shares his testimony to at least 10,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area during the Identity Unleashed Conference held at Cow Palace in Daly City on Sept. 7, 2013. The Gospel Herald/Hudson Tsuei

By the time he took the sports world by storm, the filmmakers were fully embedded, recording behind-the-scenes footage -- including a telling interview the night before he joined the Knicks -- that would have been journalistic gold back then, according to Newsday. Therein is a problem for the film: timing. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and only now is ready for its theatrical and VOD release.

Lin -- the middle child of Taiwanese immigrants -- started playing basketball at his local YMCA at a young age. He became a top player at Palo Alto High School, and was named team captain his senior year -- the same year he and his teammates captured the state title. In addition to being a strong athlete, Lin also excelled at his studies, earning high marks in all of his classes. He served as the editor of his high school newspaper and worked as an intern for California senator Joe Simitian for a summer.

Despite his prowess on the court, Lin couldn't land a basketball scholarship for college. He attended Harvard University, where he became a force to be reckoned with on their basketball team. During his four years there, Lin played 115 games and averaged 12.9 points per game, and was named to the All-Ivy League First Team in his final two years. As one of the only Asian-American players in his division, life on the court wasn't always easy for Lin. Both fans and competitors hurled racist slurs at him, but he did not let these nasty comments deter him, according to biography.com.

He signed with the Golden State Warriors for the 2010-2011 season. After two rejections, Lin ended up with the New York Knicks for the next season. There he quickly became a basketball phenomenon, helping the team secure a string of wins in February 2012.

Once in danger of being cut from the team, Lin has become one of the sport's most sought-after stars. His original contract was only for $762,195, but he received a $25.l million offer from the Houston Rockets in July 2012, according to biography.com.