There is a poster of Allan Houston that hangs on my wall. It's tattered after its many hours in truck trunks and college dorm moves, with a hunk of Allan's jumper missing from the top-right corner. More than anything else, it signified my intense fandom for a popular but inept franchise.
In college, I bet my roommates that the Knicks would make the playoffs. That was freshman year. Something should have told me that gambling on Mardy Collins, the undead Anfernee Hardaway, and a guy who's best play is most conducive for NBA Bloopers than Inside Stuff was a harbinger for disaster. By senior year, I wore my Knicks shirt in the confines of my dorm, refreshed games on my laptop, and looked for hope in Allan Houston's crimped follow through.
But I did it. WE did. We kept hope alive. Enter Jeremy Lin.
Jeremy Lin is as much from China as I from Africa. He was born in Palo Alto, CA, same town as crazy James Franco, Condoleeza Rice, and the Grateful Dead. His Dad, a Taiwanese immigrant, saw the game, loved the game, and imported its core components. And we are all better for it.
On Tuesday night in Toronto, Jeremy Lin sat across from 75 reporters, 25 of Asian descent. Lin was given a stamp collection, and asked to record a message in Mandarin. He obliged. All of this happened before he took a dribble at the Air Canada Centre.Jeremy Lin is "WOW! YOOO! AHHHH!". Jeremy Lin is "BANG! BOOM! POW!". Jeremy Lin is young Busta Rhymes on a Tribe Called Quest track. I've never seen a city swoon so quickly for an athlete, so much so that folks are openly nervous over a certain superstar's return.
Does he have flaws? YES. Lin had 8 turnovers, and ranks second in turnovers during the month of February. But a closer look at that stat is telling: Lin is surrounded in this futility by Russell Westbrook (1), John Wall (3), Lebron James (4), and his prototype Steve Nash (5).
Can he improve? YES. Lin's got a ways to go before he reaches the rarified air of 50-40-90, the full realization of a guard's potential in the DiAntoni offense. Those are Steve Nash numbers. The gold standard.
I implore you: watch the man. Don't be afraid to cheer. And if at all possible, use words.
- M.B., II