You've heard all about it. Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round. Kurt Warner wasn't drafted at all and stocked shelves at a grocery store before becoming an elite NFL quarterback. Michael Oher was homeless, yet became a fist-round draft pick. These three examples are all one in a million, right? Wrong, absolutely wrong.
Jeremy Lin is a prime example of how a true athlete conducts himself when given the opportunity to succeed. Did the New York Knicks anticipate the rapid success of Lin? Of course not. If he was able to be on an NBA roster he was certainly worthy to be given a chance to play in a game.
What a difference one week has made in that young man's life. Fans are going Lin-sane over him, and he has delivered while being in the spotlight. He out-performed Kobe Bryant at Madison Square Garden and fans might not even realize that the main attractions, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, have been absent.
Did Jeremy Lin suddenly have the best turnaround in the history of sports in one week? No. Were coaches too ignorant to give the un-drafted Ivy League player a chance? Perhaps.
The problem with professional sports is that draft picks have done absolutely nothing in their new leagues, yet are expected to carry the team. Starring in NCAA play does not result in professional success. Coaches are more apt to start a No. 1 draft pick who is under-performing than an inexperienced player who is doing all of the right things.
Teams just want to make themselves look good on paper and in the revenue statistics, even if that produces under-whelming performances on the playing field. The Knicks took a chance on Lin, and even if he flopped he wasn't expected to be a superstar.
I'm not suggesting that teams go out and sign untalented players and hope for the best. All that I'm saying is that the Knicks knew Lin could play and had the balls to put him in a game. Other coaches might know that they have decent players glued to the bench but are scared of the backlash that would come if those players failed.
Good for Jeremy Lin. He couldn't control if and when his opportunity would come but he played to his capability when given a chance.
I know this sounds cliché, but truly think about all of the Jeremy Lins that exist. How many Joe Montanas are sitting on their couch thinking, "that could have been me." Struggling teams owe it to their fans to put out the players that give them the best chance of winning.
If that means benching an All-Star player for somebody unproven in games, so be it. Fans don't see what happens in practice, so they have no right to freak out when a Jeremy Lin enters the game.
I strongly believe that there are hundreds of athletes that can contribute to a team. However, I doubt that any of them will get a realistic chance of showing the world that they can play.