Jeremy Lin Discusses Feeling 'Ashamed' About Struggles After 'Linsanity'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2020

Former Toronto Raptors' Jeremy Lin, currently a free agent, speaks to young Taiwanese players during a basketball clinic in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, July 27, 2019. Lin is in Taiwan to attend a charity event and basketball clinics for young athletes. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Chiang Ying-ying/Associated Press

Jeremy Lin's career in the NBA was something of a whirlwind. He went from being a little-known, undrafted free agent in 2010 to a phenomenon during the 2011-12 season with the New York Knicks after a streak of high-scoring games was dubbed "Linsanity."

That made Lin an instant icon and a great story that season. And while he remained a solid NBA player for seven seasons after that, averaging 11.6 points and 4.3 assists in his NBA career, he never could recreate the magic he had in that season with the Knicks.

Lin revealed on Taiwan's GOOD TV that his struggles after that period in the NBA really affected his mental health (h/t Jonathan White of the South China Morning Post):

"That stretch was called Linsanity and at that time I was literally the most popular person, the most popular person, on the planet. I had everything going for me. I had so much success. I was playing out of my mind and it was so far above and beyond anything I could have dreamed of.

"But the next few years after that I started to really experience a lot of let downs, a lot of failure and it got to the point where I was so ashamed to even walk outside, I didn't even want to leave my house, I didn't want to go on my social media, I didn't want to go on ESPN.

"I was just so ashamed because everything I worked so hard to achieve I started to lose. I lost my starting position, I lost a lot of endorsements and I lost a lot of the popularity."

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Lin said he lost fans during that time period, though he attempted to work through his struggles to improve on the court. He felt he was in the perfect situation with the Brooklyn Nets after signing with them ahead of the 2016-17 season with a "coach [Kenny Atkinson] that loved me and an offensive system that perfectly suited me."

But injuries limited Lin to just 36 games that season and one game the next year. He would spend the 2018-19 season with the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors before signing to play for the CBA's Beijing Shougang Ducks in Aug. 2019. He helped lead the Ducks to the CBA semifinals where they lost to the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

It's been a long and fascinating basketball journey for the 32-year-old Lin, who is going to give his NBA career another shot.

"This decision has really been the hardest in my life," he said in September, per Weibo (via Channel News Asia). "Every morning I would wake up at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., thinking, thinking and thinking all the time. In the end, although Shougang has treated me incredibly well ... giving me everything I wanted, in the end, I feel that I still have NBA dreams. I still have time to play, and I have to chase this."