A sturdy tree stood right in the center of the busy New York City, unmindful of the tall buildings around it. The tree had his roots, spread out mostly on the foundations where those buildings were built. It was different from the outside, but it was unknowingly connected beyond everyone’s sight…
Jeremy Lin, on his first day of training camp, was waived by the Golden State Warriors. It was not a popular decision, but it was a risk that they had to do to free some salary cap in luring DeAndre Jordan from the L.A. Clippers. The Houston Rockets claimed Lin’s waiver, only to waive him again for Samuel Dalembert. After constant trips to the D-league and a pile of frustrations, Lin’s NBA dream was slowly drifting away.
The Asian-American, who was a Harvard graduate and a college standout, was never given the chance to prove himself. Frankly, nobody really thought that he could make it. He was too small and skinny. Many doubted him.
But Lin was never fazed about how everybody treated him. He just looked around the bleachers and saw some of the people who believed in him and all the doubts went away. This was an added pressure. However, it gave him strength to move on and never quit.
He never craved attention and he never talked more about himself—always crediting others for their win.
Just weeks ago, Lin had an unguaranteed contract. He even slept on his brother’s couch just to secure him a shelter. He was virtually a nobody. New York Knicks coach Mike D’ Antoni had seen how Lin worked so hard in practice. But being the fourth point guard in the team, Lin was dispensable. He was the first one to be out or waived if the team went shopping for marquee players elsewhere.
This was before D'Antoni started to use Lin when two of his superstars, Amar'e Stoudemire and Camelo Anthony, were unavailable.
After Baron Davis’ injury got extended and with shortage of point guards, Lin finally got the chance that he had been waiting for. Three straight games he scored an average of 23.3 points and eight assists per game.
This was a Cinderella story where the “happy ever after” still continues.
On the biggest game and right in front of a hometown crowd, Lin’s ultimate test came from one of the NBA’s greatest player, Kobe Bryant. Kobe and the Lakers had just won a one-point game against their bitter rival Boston Celtics. And without Carmelo and Amar'e the Lakers wouldn't have any problem in winning against the Knicks. Except they failed to hand out the script to Lin.
Lin scored a career-high 38 points and outshined the game’s biggest star. This was a testament of his greatness, a seemingly touching message that everyone can make it.
As a fan waived his placard with the message L.I.N. (Legend In New York), I remembered that tree standing right in the center of the busy New York City.
Greatness comes in different sizes and form. We may be different but somehow connected.