When we hear the name Jeremy Lin, we think of Linsanity — an unforgettable moment in basketball history where Lin electrified Madison Square Garden and took the Knicks for a 7–0 wild winning ride in the absence of Carmelo Anthony. Lin averaged 26.8 points in the first six of those games and won seven consecutive games, putting the Knicks back on the map and starting a cultural phenomenon. There are different takes on what led to the end of Linsanity and Lin’s downfall in the NBA. Was Linsanity merely a fluke? Did his injury ruin him forever? The reality was that even before his season-ending knee injury in 2017, Lin was being traded through teams around the league and wasn’t given a fair shot. Even in the year of Linsanity, Anthony and Lin struggled to play alongside each other upon Anthony’s return, a tense one-sided feud that Lin paid the price for.
Before Lin’s injury with the Nets in 2016, he played good minutes and put up decent numbers on all the teams he played for. He averaged 13 points per game in the two years with the Rockets, 11.2 with the Lakers, 11.7 with the Hornets and 14.6 with the Nets. Although he wasn’t quite the same after his injury, Lin was still a reliable bench player, averaging 10.7 points per game with the Hawks in 2018.
After a year with the Toronto Raptors, Lin left the NBA last year for the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). He didn’t find any offers as a free agent, forcing him to go overseas. Since then, Lin has regained stardom in China playing for the Beijing Ducks. He has averaged 22.3 points, 5.6 assists and 5.7 total rebounds per game with the Ducks, leading the team to the semi-finals of the CBA championship. Lin’s time hasn’t been easy in China: He revealed that he was the focus of every team’s offense and got beat up quite often, including losing his hearing after a game.
Lin is making one last effort with the NBA. His year abroad has shown his resilience and dedication to the game of basketball. The CBA has made him tougher, and although he can’t expect to be a starter in the NBA, he can still be a reliable bench player for teams such the Warriors, Knicks and Rockets.
In a league with nearly no Asian American players, NBA teams should dig deep and ask themselves why they gave up on the only Asian American who was an above-average rotational player that has proven to us all his potential and worth.