Jeremy Lin goes home, a year after Linsanity
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
If the NBA schedule makers would have used their Jeremy Lin marketing minds this season like they so often did in the last, then Tuesday night’s game between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets would have come just a little bit earlier.
What better way to commemorate the official start of “Linsanity” than to have him come home against the Warriors?
Alas, Feb. 4 — and not Feb. 12 — was the anniversary. Still, what a year (and eight days) it has been.
Lin, who was just days away from likely being cut yet again by the New York Knicks just as he had been by the Warriors and Rockets before, came in off the bench against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, 2012 after riding the pine for coach Mike D’Antoni’s the five weeks before. Thirty-six minutes, 25 points, seven assists and one win later, the most memorable underdog story in recent league history had begun.
Lin, who attended Palo Alto High School before heading off to Harvard and his undrafted path to the NBA, was a Development League regular while with the Warriors. In the rare times he saw the Oracle Arena floor, the low-key Taiwanese-American was the center of so much uncomfortable attention, in part, because of the strong Asian-American influence in the region. Proud fans would chant his name late in games and beg then-Warriors coach Keith Smart to put him in during garbage time, and Lin would often look flustered by the disproportionate focus on him for those brief stretches.
By the time he was gone and found himself facing the Warriors for the first time while with the Knicks, the chants were gone but his lack of playing time remained. Just one day after signing with the Knicks, he made his only visit home in a regular-season opener on Dec. 28, 2011 and the final footnote in that night’s Associated Press story said it all: “Former Golden State guard Jeremy Lin, who signed with the Knicks on Tuesday, entered the game late in the fourth quarter and missed his only shot attempt.”