Jeremy Lin Birthday: Celebrating Rockets PG with Sickest Career Highlights

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

Jeremy Lin Birthday: Celebrating Rockets PG with Sickest Career Highlights

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    Jeremy Lin has a $25 million contract, a worldwide following of insanely devoted disciples and a Harvard degree. So what do you get a guy like that for his birthday?

    How about a compilation of his best highlight clips?

    As the man who inspired Linsanity turns 25, let's celebrate him by reviewing some of the most impressive plays from his NBA career. In order to properly pay homage, it'll be important to make sure the top moments accurately represent what makes Lin such an entertaining player.

    That means there'll be some clutch shots, sneaky dunks, slick passes and even a surprising swat or two.

    While it's true that Lin has only been around for a couple of years, his highlight collection is already robust.

    Finally, let's all agree to pretend that Lin couldn't scour the depths of the Internet for these snippets himself. It's the thought that counts, right?

The Spin Cycle

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    Say what you want about Derek Fisher's defense (Hint: It involves getting in the way and hoping someone knocks him over.), but Lin's slick spin move was pretty impressive.

    Yeah, Lin almost tripped himself up in the process, but remember: this highlight comes from the peak of Linsanity, when the Knicks' savior—coming out of nowhere—could do no wrong.

    In fact, how about a whistle on that reach by Fisher, ref?

Look Out, Francisco!

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    If there's one word that best describes Lin's game on both ends, it's "aggressive."

    He showed off his attacking style on both ends against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 10, 2012, stuffing Aaron Brooks with a sweet trailing block on one end and then taking it all the way for a surprising slam on Francisco Garcia's head.

    Where did that come from?

    Oddly, both of Lin's victims in this play are now his teammates. I guess there were no hard feelings.

Lin Is Big in Canada

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    You wouldn't know it from the crowd's reaction, but Lin's remarkable game-winning triple against the Toronto Raptors came in a road arena.

    The long bomb came on Feb. 14, 2012, or as some people might more accurately term it, "The Moment Linsanity Became a Thing."

    It's difficult to keep from smiling as Lin howls in triumph after the shot goes down. The excitement in the arena is palpable, probably because everyone in the building knew they were watching something they'd never forget.

    Just imagine if he'd hit that shot in Madison Square Garden. Half of New York might still be deaf.

Dunk No. 1

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    Mark it down, everybody: Feb. 9, 2012. Before that illustrious date in history, nobody was sure whether or not Lin could be a consistent highlight generator.

    Thanks to a comically disinterested bunch of Washington Wizards, Lin got the chance to cruise right down main street for an uncontested look at the rim. Instead of laying it in quietly, he spiked home a right-handed slam.

    Even against the Wizards (who weren't any good back then), style points count.

    Just for some context, at this point, the Knicks had won three straight games since giving Lin heavy minutes. But everyone still seemed to view him as a plucky kid who was getting by on guts and guile.

    The dunk showed that Lin was, in fact, an NBA-caliber athlete.

Lin Denial

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    Usually, Josh Smith is the one rejecting interior attempts. But Lin turned the tables in this Dec. 31, 2012 contest, getting full palm on what would have been a flush from Smith and taking the ball the other way.

    Most blocks are cool on their own. But the audible "smack" that came with this one gave it a little extra oomph.

    I guess the highlight would have been better if Lin had finished the play on the other end, but he'll have to be satisfied with the hockey assist.

No Peeking

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    Who doesn't love a good no-look pass?

    Lin is one of the few NBA players who employs the tactic legitimately. It's easy to make a sweet dish and then look the other way, but that's not really a true no-look pass.

    What Lin does is the real deal. He spots his man, pretends to forget about him and then whips a pass to him without looking back.

    Purists agree: Lin is the master of not looking.

On the Bounce

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    Truthfully, there are dozens of slick bounce passes in Lin's highlight reel that could have made the list here. But this one was especially nice because of how obviously Lin saw the play materializing in advance.

    He fanned out to the wing on the break, then realized that most of the Nets who made it back in transition were focusing on James Harden at the top of the arc.

    But Lin saw Donatas Motiejunas streaking behind the play and found him with a beautiful bounce pass.

    Motiejunas has to dunk that ball with more authority, though. Soft dunks are no way to cap a highlight.

Lin Dupes 'Melo

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    Viewed objectively, there are certainly better highlights than this one.

    But you've got to appreciate the poetic justice of Lin faking out Carmelo Anthony—the guy who not-so-quietly lobbied to get rid of Lin with the Knicks—and driving for a sweet scoop over Tyson Chandler.

    I don't really have a more elaborate defense for including this highlight. It just made me smile.