I’ve never been a big NBA fan. I like basketball, played it a lot when I was a kid, and enjoy high school and college basketball a lot. But the pro game…just doesn’t really grab me and I’m not sure why. Too many tattoos? Maybe. Too many giant egos? Perhaps. That “I wanna win championships so surround me with great players” attitude? Definitely. Whatever it is, I don’t watch it much. Oh, I check the standings and watch highlights on ESPN, then see who is advancing in the playoffs. The closest I came to being a fan was when Jordan played. He was…well, he was Michael Jordan. Enough said. And I thought Magic and Bird were something special too. That’s why I’m so surprised that all of a sudden I’m paying attention to the NBA and GASP! almost rooting for the New York Knickerbockers? Yep, I’m very close.
A breath of fresh air has stormed into the NBA and his name, of course, is Jeremy Lin. We’ve all heard of him by now, even my wife. Why do we cheer for him? His is the ultimate underdog story. An undrafted four year player from Harvard. No one from Harvard makes it to the NBA. And yeah, he’s Asian-American. The first ever. His mom and dad are like 5’4” tall and weigh 110 lbs. So are his brothers. Jeremy is 6’3” and weighs 200 lbs. Where in the heck did that come from? He’s humble, has no tattoos (yet), and is great fun to watch. He came out of nowhere to become the starting point guard of the New York Knicks. The first week everyone was a little skeptical, asking if this kid was for real. Now, 2-3 weeks into it, he looks like the real deal. It’s clear he won’t keep averaging 24 points a game, he doesn’t have to or need to. But I’ve watched this kid and he’s good. I’m predicting he’s going to settle in about 15 points a game and 9 or 10 assists a game. And most importantly, the Knicks are going to contend. They were dead in the water two weeks ago.
So yes, I now find myself peeking at the NBA scores at night to see how the Knicks did. And I also find myself hoping I see that they won. I cannot believe one kid can have that much impact, but he has, not just with me, but with all sports fans. I think a lesson can be learned here. Maybe fans are hungry for humility, hunger, and kid like fun. Maybe.