Jeremy Lin: Inability to Handle Spotlight Will Prove Costly for Dynamic PG

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 15, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 12:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Houston Rockets passes the ball against the Miami Heat at the Toyota Center on November 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Jeremy Lin has issues.

One of the Houston Rockets' big additions this offseason, along with shooting guard James Harden, Lin opened up to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski in what can only be tabbed as part interview, part therapy session for the 24-year-old Harvard graduate and NBA point guard.

I get scared of a lot of attention. I get scared of the spotlight. And I'm not talking about on the basketball court. So I was just in shock when everything happened. I was startled about it all. I just thought, 'Oh man, I wish some of this stuff could slow down.'

Everyone's afraid of something, and Lin's fear of the spotlight is quite normal; in reality, it's no different than the knot in your stomach that you might feel before you have to address a large crowd.

It's also understandable that he doesn't feel this anxiety on a basketball court.

While he might be the focal point of the offense, with 18,000 people in attendance watching his every move as the point guard with the knowledge that millions more are watching on TV, he's one of 10 players on the court.

The hardwood is his security blanket.

But then again, maybe not.

I just turned 24 and I'm pretty much the average age here. There (New York) I would be the second- or third-youngest. And I would be in a position to have to lead with so much still to learn; with so much urgency for everything to happen now. I do feel like for my career, I'm in a better position in Houston.

Here, we're learning together. It's almost like we're thrown into the fire and you've got to figure it out. And the best part is that we have a coach [Kevin McHale] who knows exactly what he's doing to lead and guide us. It's different, because we're so young, we're going to have to make mistakes, and grow.

The great thing about it is that I don't have to figure it out all at once.

Jeremy Lin claims to be happy, and that's really all that matters in the grand scheme of things,

But his aversion to the spotlight will prove to be costly in terms of his next NBA contract, not to mention potential endorsement deals.

What company is going to want to pay someone to endorse their product if he doesn't want to make public appearances; if he doesn't want to be the face of their brand?

The same holds true for a NBA franchise. No big-market club is going to feel comfortable giving him a big-time deal, regardless of what he can do on the court. Believe it or not, marketability of their biggest stars comes into consideration when teams look at acquiring players.

If this was baseball, Jeremy Lin would be the equivalent of Zack Greinke but without the anxiety issues being as well documented.

Maybe none of that matters to him, and more power to him if it doesn't—because it does to most professional athletes.

Maybe Jeremy Lin really doesn't want to be like Mike.

He'd be the the first NBA player in a generation to go down that path—and it's a costly one to traverse.