I am a big basketball fan so much like every other basketball fan, I heard a little something about Jeremy Lin, of the New York Knicks. After one week of starting for the Knicks he has become the story of this season, so I decided I would see for myself. Lakers vs. Knicks at Madison Square Garden on ESPN! Now, here is where the big disappointment comes. The disappointment was not in Lin, who had 18 points by the time I turned the game on in the 2nd quarter. The disappointment was in me, as I went to sleep at the end of the 3rd quarter (Lin had 22 at the time) only to miss Lin go crazy in the 4th quarter to finish with a career high and game high 38 points! So, much like the Lakers, the other NBA execs, and head coaches I learned a valuable lesson when I woke up this morning…DON’T SLEEP ON LIN!!!
Since I missed the game I had to do some research to learn more about Lin. What amazed me is that not only did the NBA sleep on Lin, but so did every college in the country when he came out of California as the “runaway choice for player of the year by virtually every California publication.” Here are some of his achievements: two-time consensus Ivy League 1st team pick, the only NCAA D-1 player ranked in conference top ten in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots, field goal %, free throw %, and 3-point %. He broke various Harvard individual and team records. When assigned to an NBA D-League team he promptly recorded a triple-double (3 different statistical categories in a game where he had at least 10), and now in his 1st 3 games as a starter he has scored more points (89) than any other players 1st three starts since 1976, which includes the Magic-Bird and Michael Jordan eras.
So, with this body of work it makes you wonder how did so many people sleep on Lin? I am not sure, but Lin’s story is encouraging. Kobe Bryant said it very well after the game, “It’s a testament to perseverance and hard work. I am sure he has put in a great deal of work to always have that belief in himself. Now he has the opportunity to show it.” Maybe there weren’t very many Lin believers, but there was one very important Lin believer. That person was Jeremy Lin. His belief in himself has meant more than any doubters, over-lookers, and naysayers. Lin said about himself, “to understand my game, they have to watch me more than once, because I’m not going to do anything that’s extra flashy or freakishly athletic.” He knew and was his own witness to the hard work he put in and the sacrifice he put in day in and day out. This work went unnoticed by those who were blinded by flashier, less effective players, but not unnoticed to him. This consistent work cemented his belief.
I am not sure if you are the Jeremy Lin of this story or the people who slept on Jeremy Lin, but there is a lesson for all of us. To the “Jeremy Lin’s” out there, keep putting in the work, keep believing, and keep looking for that opportunity because when it comes you will be ready and it will show in a major way. For those of us who “went to sleep”, don’t focus only on flash, the next big thing, or what everybody is talking about. The next “big thing” that everybody will be “talking about” is already a big thing, just methodically working, believing, and waiting for someone (you) to notice and provide an opportunity.
I don’t know how the remainder of the “Jeremy Lin story” will play out, but I now know it is best that I DON’T SLEEP ON LIN!