Jeremy Lin Holds Court
The NBA held a special press conference for New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin rather than have him do the standard media availability. Below is a transcript of that press conference, courtesy of the NBA.
LANDRY FIELDS: Apparently San Francisco Pro Am has a league every summer with their college players. We’d like to know who was the MVP. I’m pretty sure the dates are 2009 and 2010. If you could just explain that.
JEREMY LIN: Yeah. Landry Fields was the MVP of the San Francisco Pro Am 2009, 2010. He played for the Oakland Believers, and he doesn’t have a lot of friends. (Laughter).
Q. The world has seen you progress over these last weeks. A few of us have gotten to see you progress virtually through video games in NBA 2K12. Can you tell us how they had you ranked if you know and the progression through the last two weeks?
JEREMY LIN: I actually don’t know the exact numbers. I know for a while I was in the 50s, I believe.
JEREMY LIN: 53. I think ESPN had me as the 467th best player out of 500 or something like that coming into the season.
Q. Your first week you went up to 69 and then to now 75. Where do you see yourself progressing to?
JEREMY LIN: Not really too worried about that. I don’t know. I don’t have a set number or goal or something. But it’s cool I guess it’s cool to be able to hear about progressing. I think that the important thing is that me and my team, we continue to improve, and just as long as we’re headed up, I think we’re good to go.
Q. I heard your college coach Tommy Amaker say in one of the interviews that he thinks your ethnicity is maybe one of the reasons you were overlooked by college recruiters and NBA scouts because you don’t, quote, look like your normal NBA player. Do you believe that to be the case?
JEREMY LIN: I think it has something to do with it. I don’t know how much. But I think just being Asian American, obviously when you look at me, I’m going to have to prove myself more so again and again and again, and some people may not believe it. I know a lot of people say I’m deceptively athletic and deceptively quick, and I’m not sure what’s deceptive. But it could be the fact I’m Asian American. But I think that’s fine. It’s something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder. But I’m very proud to be Asian American, and I love it.
Q. If you had help Iman in the Slam Dunk, would there have been a couch involved? And would it have been that couch?
JEREMY LIN: We actually had a sweet idea. Iman came up. Landry was going to roll a couch out with a cover over it, I was going to be sleeping underneath it, and then we were going to pull the cover, I was going to throw to Iman an alley oop from the coach, and he was going to jump over both me and the couch, windmill it and then sit down and have Landry hand him a Sprite. (Laughter). That was our idea, but it didn’t get to happen. He got hurt, and so hopefully he gets healthy soon. We miss him and wish he was here with us in this game that we’re about to play.
Q. With how quickly this has all happened, is this still kind of surreal that you’re holding your own press conference during All Star Weekend?
JEREMY LIN: Oh, absolutely. Just any press conference of my own in general, let alone All Star Weekend. Just to be here and to see the company and all the players that are here is just it’s been unbelievable, and I’m just trying to take it all in and embrace it and enjoy it every step of the way.
Q. No. 17 is an unusual jersey number. I know in the past you’ve worn 7. Did you just put a 1 in front because that’s as close as you could get or is there some tribute to maybe a player from your hometown growing up that you liked?
JEREMY LIN: 7 was my number last year, and it’s one of God’s numbers that he uses throughout the Bible. And I chose 17 because the 1 was kind of to represent me and the 7 was to represent God. And for me when I went to the D League I had 17, and so everywhere I go, He would be right there next to me, and so that’s why I stuck with 17.
Q. There’s no real Chris Mullin influence there?
JEREMY LIN: Oh, no, not at all. I didn’t even think of that. But he’s a great player. (Laughter). Trust me, I’m a huge fan of his.
Q. In the last 15, 20 days your life has changed a lot. How are you coping with the newfound status and stardom?
JEREMY LIN: I’m just trying to stay focused on basketball, and I think the schedule helps because the games come so fast. And at the same time, being around my teammates, just trying to stay focused on what we have, the next game and what we need to do to improve. Just trying to tune everything on the outside out and just trying to stay focused.
Q. Shaq selected you to be on his team, did you get a call from Shaquille and/or what has he said to you?
JEREMY LIN: I haven’t had a chance to Shaq missed practice this morning (laughter), so I don’t know; I think we should fine him or something, because we were all expecting him to be there. But I look forward to meeting him soon.
Q. And one follow up: If you weren’t expecting to be here up until about the last week or so except maybe for the dunk, what would you have been doing All Star Weekend?
JEREMY LIN: I was going to plan on going to some warm, tropical beach area and vacation with my family. But I’m glad I’m here.
Q. Udonis Haslem told a story that the last time you were in Miami during the chapel, that he had mentioned, “If you could say a prayer for me that I don’t get cut.” I was wondering if you could vouch for that story and how that went down?
JEREMY LIN: Yeah, I went to chapel with Jerome Jordan and Landry Fields, and the chaplain asked us to share a prayer request, and I knew February 10th was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart, just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year. So that’s kind of what I shared with the group of guys, and he was one of the guys in there.
Q. There’s something about your game that tells me that you’ve been on a playground somewhere. I read that your dad used to take you to the YMCA or something, but have you been to Rucker Park? And if not what are some of the parks you’ve been to to help develop your game?
JEREMY LIN: I haven’t been to Rucker Park, but growing up, it was just in California, Northern California. I pretty much played anywhere and everywhere. I remember when I was in high school, I played at Stanford until about 2:00 a.m. every Friday night, and then my brother went to UCLA, so I’d go to UCLA and play at the Wooden Center or Wooden Gym. So anywhere I could find basketball me and my brothers would always just kind of gravitate towards and just play.
Q. In what ways, good and bad, do you think this would be playing out differently if you were in Milwaukee or if you were with Charlotte as opposed to being with the Knicks?
JEREMY LIN: I think obviously playing in New York, it’s a big stage with a big fan base, and so there’s a lot of media. And I think in terms of platform and media, I think that’s the best place to be, New York, just because they have it all. One thing I really do want to do is embrace that platform and to be able to use it in the right way, and use it positively and make sure that my message and the way that I live is in a way appropriate of a role model, so I’m thankful for that.
Q. Just to follow up, if you go through some period of adjustment in your game, is it going to be tougher to do that in New York with the daily constant attention?
JEREMY LIN: Oh, I’m not too worried about that. I think the difference between me last year and this year is that last year I cared what everybody said, and this year I don’t really care what anybody says, except for my teammates and my coaches. That’s kind of the approach that I’m taking.
Q. There’s Linsanity, but have you come up with a Lin word of your own, and what’s the most important lesson your father taught you?
JEREMY LIN: Okay, the first one, I haven’t come up with one, I just like “Jeremy”. I want to make sure I don’t change as a person and that I don’t let any of this get to me. And then the second thing, my dad and my mom just always taught me, not just in basketball but in life, just to give my best effort, to follow my dreams and to do everything to God’s glory, and that’s the motto I’ve adopted for everything in my life.
Q. It seems that Mike’s system is the perfect fit for you. When did you know and realize you could play that pick and roll system maybe even before getting to New York? And do you feel maybe that you’re now a pigeonholed into a system guy and that you cannot play in another system?
JEREMY LIN: I think pick and roll wise, that’s always been something, looking back even in high school, we ran a lot of pick and rolls, and in college we ran a lot of pick and rolls, so that’s just something that’s kind of developed over time, just being familiar with pick and rolls. I know there’s the theory that it’s just a perfect system for me, and so I agree it is a perfect system for me, and I’m thankful that I play for Coach D’Antoni because he really is an offensive genius, the way he designed his system. So it’s very suitable for me, and I mean, I guess somewhere down the road if I play in another system, we’ll be able to answer better that question of can I play in another system. But right now I’m just focused on where I’m at and how I can help.
Q. Ryan Anderson tells a story about you and him played against each other when you were kids in AAU ball. Are you impressed with how far he’s come? And he said you guys met each other a couple years ago and he gave you some encouragement words.
JEREMY LIN: I mean, I remember Ryan Anderson. I played against him every single year. One year he was like not really playing, coming off the bench, role player, and the next year he was like way taller, shooting threes, posting up, and all of a sudden next thing you know he’s a star at Cal and in the NBA. I remember just being so surprised at how quickly, once his body filled out and he got used to it, how quickly he became the player that he is now, and he just continues to get better. I know he’s having a great year this year, as well, and he has given me advice and encouragement in the past, so he’s a great guy.
Q. What’s the latest splurge that you’ve made? Anything financially that you’ve bought?
JEREMY LIN: No (smiling).
Q. Nothing at all?
JEREMY LIN: I’m still a minimum guy. That hasn’t changed.
Q. You talked earlier in the week about the possibility that maybe the NBA wasn’t going to be for you before this whole thing happened. What was plan B? JEREMY LIN: I really didn’t have a plan B to be honest. I wasn’t sure. Obviously I was thinking about three main options: Overseas, D League, or to just take a break or give up basketball for a while. And I just didn’t really know. I was just trying not to think about it basically. So I just said, if I get cut by the Knicks, then I’ll take a look at all that, but until then, I want to make sure I try to stay focused and not think negatively.
Q. Are you surprised that this craziness is still surrounding you? And are you hoping at some point that maybe it dies down a little as the season goes on?
JEREMY LIN: Yeah, I’m definitely surprised that people are still talking about Linsanity or whatever. I think hopefully as the season progresses, it will go from that to New York Knicks, and hopefully the Knicks can win basketball games, we can make a good push after the All Star Break and people will start talking about the Knicks and not necessarily me.
Q. You’re obviously seen with Landry a lot, but who of your Knick teammates have been very supportive of you through this process? Who’s been your coach in your ear?
JEREMY LIN: I’ve had a few. Definitely obviously Landry, we do pretty much everything together. And then Carmelo, I think a lot of people have asked how is he fitting in, what’s his attitude, but he’s definitely taken me under his wing, and he talks to me pretty much every single time out and gives me a lot of advice. He told me to keep being aggressive and keep doing what I’m doing, and that we would learn to play off of each other. So he’s been giving me a lot of advice. The other two that really stick out, Tyson Chandler and Jared Jeffries. Tyson is an unbelievable leader, the way he plays, the way he carries himself, total professional, and he called me last night just to kind of pick me up and give me words of encouragement. And Jared, the most underrated player on our team, he’s an absolute team first guy, and his defense is unbelievable, and he’s always talking to me, and he’s been in the league for a long time. They’ve all kind of given me a lot of advice and helped me make this transition.
Q. I’ve seen a few stories about guys who you played against in college talking about how they stopped you or didn’t think you were that good back then. What’s the trash talk like in the Ivy League?
JEREMY LIN: Who said that? (Laughter).
Q. Dartmouth guys and stuff.
JEREMY LIN: Yeah, I mean, I think trash talking during the game wasn’t too bad in the Ivy League, and I definitely had to go through growth pains. I was shut down many times in college, and I will be many times in the pros. But it’s a process, and so hopefully I can keep getting better, and hats off to anybody who’s shut me down in the past. It’s going to continue to happen during some games in the future.