Jeremy Lin 'Linsanity' Documentary Debuts in Film Festival

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

It was too unbelievable for even a Hollywood script.

Jeremy Lin's meteoric rise from NBA afterthought to global phenomenon was nothing short of a miracle. A miracle that just happened to be captured by filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong every step of the way.

Leong recognized the intrigue surrounding the story of an Asian-American point guard at Harvard wreaking havoc on the Ivy League. The fact that the player had an outside chance of receiving a glimpse from the NBA made the idea that much more compelling.

Despite several rebuttals from the reserved star, Leong finally convinced Lin to give him a chance.

And that marked the birth of the Linsanity documentary, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday.

Leong told Scott D. Pierce of The Salt Lake Tribune that the direction of the film was never very clear as it was being shot.

Lin provided the director with several opportunities to obtain highlights for a feel-good ending.

For starters, the undrafted Palo Alto, Calif., native earning a spot on the Golden State Warriors could have called for the film's final curtain. His perseverance through a largely uninterested, yet still partially racist, scouting world could have wrapped the film in the uplifting spirit that Leong sought.

The electricity inside Oracle Arena for Lin's NBA debut certainly erupted through the game's footage.

When the Warriors waived Lin after a 29-game rookie season and the Houston Rockets nabbed him, a new theme emerged. The importance of receiving a second chance would not be lost on an American crowd that has granted new lives to countless sports figures before Lin.

Luckily for Leong, though, he simply followed the pattern laid forth by his film's star. He waited patiently for what surely seemed impossible. He held on to hope that Lin's NBA career would blossom into more than a pleasant, but largely forgettable story about an off-the-radar player earning a few trial periods in the league.

Leong, and certainly Lin, could have never foreseen what ultimately transpired. Lin's ascension through the basketball ranks during his brief tenure with the New York Knicks and concurrent transcendence from sports star to global icon gave Leong the kind of remarkable tale that most filmmakers only dream about.

There's a reason that Lin grew into something bigger than the game itself.

And it's one that wasn't lost on a Sundance crowd reportedly moved to a standing ovation at the film's conclusion.


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