Tuck: Jeremy Lin- A True Underdog Story

Jerry O’Neill and I have talked so much about Jeremy Lin on the radio, it’s pretty amazing I haven’t written anything about him yet.  While we’ve argued about what makes his story special, it’s almost a failure not to just sit back and enjoy the ride for whatever makes it what it is and has become.  Too wordy?  Let me explain further.

Linsanity reached new highs last night with another Knicks win, the 6th straight with Lin starring, and the 5th straight with him starting.  He was incredible again piling up 27 points and 11 assists, but somehow raised the stakes even more by scoring the final 6 points, including a dagger 3-pointer with under a second to play to rally New York back from a 12 point 4th quarter deficit.  I am not sure it can get much better, especially with it this early in the season and the NBA playing games every night.  It would take a playoff run at the this stage to capture out imaginations further.  Interest will grow, but the stock has probably peaked, for now.

But how and why we got here has been debated.  After doing so much of that myself, defending areas of interest that I think matter, I again want to make the point:

There are a lot of reasons to enjoy this story, and we don’t have to rank them or diminish any of them.

1. The Underdog angle- By far the most important from the sports fans perspective.  Undrafted, and given chances, and then finds his spot and flourishes.

2. The Asian-American angle- Yes, it matters to so many.  The first American-born player of Chinese or Tawainese decent to make it.  He is a hero to so many just because of where he came from.

3. The Numbers angle- It’s mind-blowing that no player has ever put up numbers so great so quickly.  He keeps changing the record books with every start.  He was the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in his first four starts.

4. The Winning-Streak angle- It’s 6 now and counting.  Numbers don’t matter if you don’t win.  He’s doing both.

5. The short-handed angle- The first 4 starts and wins were without the two high-priced superstars, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

6. The rallying the team and city angle- The Knicks were disappointing.  The city was disappointed.  And then Lin swooped in and saved the season (we don’t know for sure, but don’t ruin the happy moment).

7. The New York angle- Doing it in the biggest city in America counts for something.

8. The Harvard angle- He is the first Ivy league player in the NBA since Chris Dudley in 2003.  He is the first Harvard player since the 1950’s!  He went to Harvard.

9. The Christian angle- This one hasn’t even played it’s hand in most circles yet, but we saw how people were drawn to Tebow.

10. The humble angle- Everyone loves a humble hero.

11. The fun angle- Flat-out the kid is just fun to watch.  He plays the game with intelligence, spirit, skill, and energy.  He runs the show and makes others better and they like playing with him.


I don’t care how you order them, and I didn’t care when I was listing them.  It’s just a fun sports story with some cross-over appeal.  It’s great for the NBA, great for sports, and great for America.

The only point in writing this again to was say that a LOT of things have gone into Jeremy Lin becoming such a big deal so quickly.  It can’t and won’t last forever, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.  I hope Lin is.