Alex Wong is the editor of the insanely great sports blog steven lebron, a writer of ’3 In The Key,’ a weekly NBA column at the Tickr and a regular contributor at NFL Off-Season. We highly encourage you to follow him on twitter here or giving him a like on facebook here.
When the clock struck midnight, Jeremy Lin officially joined the Houston Rockets. Or to better phrase the storyline that’s been running for the past few days: the New York Knicks officially let Lin go.
In the grand scheme of things, I suppose this is just another flash in the pan star getting a overpaid contract. But let’s not try to scale Lin’s story back into just another free agency gamble, that ship sailed a long time ago.
For Asians like myself, the Lin story came out of nowhere and became something so memorable, that I skipped out on Kate Upton’s SI swimsuit cover and bought a copy of Lin’s cover appearance instead. In ten years, my kids will appreciate me for it, and they can search Upton online to find out what they missed.
This was not a rallying cry for an entire community, but because so many of us are such huge basketball fans, it was more like a sense of belonging. You mean someone who we can absolutely relate to and connect with is actually going head to head against Kobe Bryant and coming out ahead?
All of this was surreal in the fact that you figured it would have to end at some point. His underwhelming performance against the Heat seemed to signal that, but we never got an answer after his injury, simply reduced to having a small sample size for dissection.
But I feel that the story has already ended.
Separate all of this self joy and satisfaction in seeing an Asian dominate basketball conversations for two weeks, it’s the purity and innocence of Lin’s rise that made it so refreshing.
Seriously, we live in a sports world where everything that happened at Penn State actually happened, where athletes are accused of assaulting their own mothers, and the veteran guard who was suppose to mentor Lin drove himself into a pole in the Hamptons.
By the way, that’s just the last forty eight hours or so of news.
It sure is more fun having Lin’s Harvard roommates talk about him in GQ, find out that his Xanga was very much like yours and mine, or watch thiswonderful mini-documentary from Got ‘Em Coach that perfectly captured the impact of Linsanity on New York.
But the last few days, it’s been about how ridiculous fellow Knicks players think the contract is, some half hearted support from his teammates hoping he comes back, in-depth articles on how Rockets general manager Daryl Morey constructed the contract to impose luxury tax implications on the Knicks, and how this franchise of James Dolan’s is actually having meetings to discuss whether to accept a contract — that albeit a high risk, high reward proposition, is not that when you take into context all the Knicks have and haven’t done in the past decade and a half.
And so, goodbye to the innocence and purity. This is the other side of sports that’s not so fun to follow or read about. This is the end of the joys of having Jeremy Lin dominate in the city of New York.
It won’t matter much to me what jersey he wears. I’ll be rooting for him in Houston, and it’s exciting to know that he will probably start the All-Star Game on his home court this year.
I woke up these last few days convinced that despite the reports, the Knicks would come to their senses and match the offer. And you can argue either way whether it’s a good decision or not, even though I’m sure you know where I stand.
No matter how he performs next year, Lin will be one of the top stories to follow. In the same way that he evoked a sense of belonging, he also reminded me how insecure we can be when we take a leap and commit and believe in a story like his.
I hope that he succeeds, I hope that he proves them all wrong.
But more importantly, I hope his story can become exhilarating and inspiring again, unlike everything that’s transpired over the past few days.