The legend of Jeremy Lin keeps growing by (literally) leaps and bounds with every sensational game he plays. The New York Knicks’ celebrated new point guard has captivated not only Gotham, but apparently virtually everyone who follows NBA basketball.
Naysayers and pessimists have less and less reason to question Lin’s game -- on Friday night in screaming Madison Square Garden, the young Harvard graduate, in his fourth consecutive start, scored a career-high 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers (the team that happens to feature the world’s greatest player, someone named Kobe Bryant). Not surprisingly, the Knicks also won their fourth straight game.
Lin has singlehandedly revitalized what was once a moribund season for the Knicks and may be breathing new life to the NBA as a whole. His story is too good to be true, too much like a fantasy script for a widely imaginative Hollywood screenwriter.
Lin is the son of immigrants from Taiwan, raised in northern California loving basketball, becomes one of the top high school stars in the state, received no athletics scholarship offers from any college; goes to Harvard, where he sets records on the hoops team; after graduation, goes undrafted; becomes picked up by his hometown Golden State Warriors (who hardly play him); gets signed by the Houston Rockers (who also waive him); bounces around in D-league ball and somehow ends up on the Knicks during a lockout-shortened season (but stuck on the bench like a wad of discarded chewing gum).
Then suddenly, due to an injury to Carmelo Anthony and a family tragedy to Amare Stoudamire that required his attention, Lin finally gets his chance to start – and he lights up hearts from the Bronx to Staten Island and all the way to Taiwan.
Lin is the first American-born Chinese or Taiwanese to ever play in the NBA. He is not only a superb basketball player, but extremely intelligent, humble and deeply religious. And now he is the toast of Broadway, the media capital of the world.
Could you possibly ask for a better story than this?
But perhaps all this unlikely success was pre-ordained.
We are now in the Chinese “Year of the Dragon.”
Doing some background research, I noticed that Lin was born in August 1988 (which also fell during a “Year of the Dragon”).
Coincidence? Perhaps. But I think it’s more like serendipity.
According to Chinese astrology and horoscope (which Lin probably doesn't believe in, since he’s a devout Christian), the Dragon is a symbol of good fortune.
According to 2012Dragon.com, the Dragon “brings in the Four Blessings of the East: wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity.”
Indeed, if Lin keeps up his spectacular play, he will bring the Knicks, the NBA and himself substantial wealth. He already has a lot of “virtue,” he is in “harmony” with his teammates (since they seem to like him and he’s not a ball hog) and everyone is hoping he has a career of “longevity.”
“Of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon is the most special, as it is a mystical being rather than an earthly animal,” the website added.
“In this context that means we can expect grand things this year. Bigger than life is very much a Dragon thing.”
Basketball fans are surely hoping for “grand things” from Lin this year and many more to come.
In Eastern philosophy, 2012Dragon added, the Dragon is said to “be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.”
I think if Lin keeps throwing up 20-points-plus games and makes fancy spin moves and slam dunks, he will indeed deliver much “good fortune” and becomes hugely “honored and respected.”
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.