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Jeremy Lin's Cinderella story

02-10-2012 13:44 BJT Special Report:The Fever of Jeremy Lin |

A week ago, Jeremy Lin was a mere nobody, worrying about a possible call from his team to announce his cut. After just three games, he has become the brightest star at Madison Square Garden.

A photo of Jeremy Lin. www.chinadaily.com.cn

At 6'3", the New York Knicks point guard gave a big boost to the team's victory over the Nets 99-92 on Saturday, scoring a game-high 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting off the bench, along with 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 steals to put up the best stat line for either team. He did quite a good job containing Deron Williams, one of the league's elite point guards in the fourth quarter, as the home crowd began to chant for him.

The second-year pro played nearly 36 minutes in that game. In contrast, he piled up 52 minutes 26 seconds in nine of Knicks' 22 games coming into Saturday night.

No one, including Lin himself, ever expected such an accomplishment.

"This night, it just hasn't really sunk in yet to be honest," he said. "It's like I'm still kind of in shock about everything that happened, but I'm just trying to soak it all in right now."

Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni moved Lin into the starting list for Knicks' next game against the Jazz at home on Monday. In that game, he had a career-high 28 points (10-for-17) and 8 assists in return. Most important, he fought hard all night to pull off a second straight win for the short-handed Knicks, with the absence of Amare Stoudemire (who rushed home after the loss of his brother, who was killed in a car accident) and the early loss of Carmelo Anthony (groin strain).

Jeremy Lin became the first player in more than 30 years to have at least 28 points and eight assists in his first NBA start.

ESPN praised his work by creating a new nickname for him – Linsanity.

His name popped onto the Twitter trends, his photo appeared and quickly dominated the pages of sports sections. On Weibo, China's largest Twitter-like micro blog service, millions of fans talked about him and his highlights were shared and watched numerous times.

Coming into Wednesday's game against the Wizards, the Knicks were still devoid of their two All-Star players, but Lin's stellar performance secured another win for them, scoring 23 points while dishing out a career-high 10 assists. Knicks stormed past the Wizards 107-93 on the road.

Even Wizards fans – many of whom are believed to be from Asia – cheered for Lin. They were waving flags and chanting for him as he walked into the arena during the introduction.

"Thanks to them for coming out, and they came out strong for the Knicks tonight," he said. "We had a lot of energy that came from them."

He surely knew what it meant, after going through a 19-month rough patch.

The Harvard graduate went undrafted in June 2010. He then signed a two-year deal (partially guaranteed in the first year) with his hometown (Golden State) Warriors, his favorite team growing up. He made his NBA debut in the Warriors-Clippers game on Oct 29, officially becoming the first American of Chinese descent to play in the NBA. But the 2010-11 season, by and large, did not turn out to be a memorable one for him, as he only played in 29 games, averaging 2.6 points in 9.8 minutes. He was assigned to the Warriors' D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, three times during the season.

On Dec 9, 2011, the Warriors waived Lin on the first day of training camp after the 2011 NBA lockout. Houston Rockets claimed him off the waiver three days later but cut him on Dec 24, just before the start of the 2011-12 season. The Knicks took a flyer on him on Dec 27 after an injury to guard Iman Shumpert.

Lin was excited about the signing, as he wrote, "Thankful to God for the opportunity to be a New York Knick!" on his weibo.

But the situation was almost a parallel to his days with the Warriors. The Knicks did not expect much from Lin and thus he got a small share of time, and he was assigned to the D-League on Jan 18.

Lin has been sleeping in his brother Josh's living room, or crashing on teammates' couches for the past six months. And he was even thankful for that.

"God is good during our ups and our downs!" he said.

Lin was recalled by the Knicks on Jan 24, three days after he had an impressive triple-double in the D-League. He admitted that he did give serious thought to playing overseas.

"Of course, of course, that's definitely going to cross my mind," he said Monday night in the Knicks locker room. He had just had a career night with 28 points and 8 assists against the Utah Jazz.

His contract, potentially worth nearly $800,000, became guaranteed on Wednesday afternoon, with a big sigh of relief on his part.

"I guess I need to find a place then," Lin said.

Editor:Zhang Jianfeng |Source: China Daily

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