The Jeremy Lin phenomenon, if we can still call it that, was primarily due to the historical precedent he set by being the first American-born person of Taiwanese descent to compete in the National Basketball Association.
The first Jeremy Lin headline I ever wrote was "Is Race To Blame for Jeremy Lin’s Delayed Superstardom?"
It was written in February of 2012, still hot in the glow of "Linsanity". It's been a long road for Lin from then up to now. Seriously, was it Jeremy Lin's fault he led the New York Knicks on a seven-game winning streak by averaging 24.4 points per game while Melo and Amare Stoudemire were on the mend?
We fast forward to four years and three teams later and find him today, not as a phenomenon, but rather a steady NBA player. While in Houston, he averaged 12.9 points per game
He's averaging a modest 11.7 points and 2.9 assists per game this season with Charlotte. But there's still some of that Linsanity left in the tank that he brings it out every once in a while. A 29-point outburst against the Sacramento Kings, a 21-point game against the Brooklyn Nets and a nine-point, four-assist and five-steal game against Milwaukee are testaments to his knack for meshing his abilities to suit whatever purpose his team needs.
If Kemba is having an off day, Lin picks up the scoring slack. If some of the Hornets wing players are needing some easy buckets, Lin picks up his assist totals. And if the game plan calls for defense, Lin is averaging 1.2 steals per game for his career and is known to aggressively attacking passing lanes.
(Photo Credit: yahoo.com)
Earlier in the season, he set out to showcase his originality by coming up with a manga-inspired hairstyle that was lambasted in the media. But I respected what he was trying to do. In a league that is mostly brown, and that is largely run by white, Lin was telling the world that he was proud of his heritage and his culture.
But the world just didn't get it. He is different, and it isn't in a homogenization way either but for the sake of pure diversity. Not subtracting anything for the sake of adding something else, but adding a new flavor right alongside what has already existed.
Several days ago SI.com reported that Lin told ESPN that he still gets ID'd at NBA arenas even though he has been in the league for years.
"It's one of those things where it literally happens everywhere," Lin said. "At opposing arenas, it happens all the time. Just the other night in Brooklyn, I was trying to leave [Barclays Center] and one of the ladies was like, 'Hey, I need your credentials for you to pass.' And then someone else was like, 'Oh, he's a player. He's good.' I'm used to it by now. It's just part of being Asian in the NBA."
Being different while trying to fit in is something Jeremy Lin has mastered on the court. He's growing increasingly comfortable with it off the court as well.