I can’t say I’m totally Linsane, but my faith that I live in the land of “anything is possible” has been renewed and rejuvenated. The New York Knicks’ unlikely savior, Jeremy Lin, has me tuned in to the shortened NBA season, and turned on for three reasons:
- Living just north of NYC, it is extremely cool to see the New York Knickerbockers bringing respect and dignity back to Madison Square Garden and making new fans of all ages and backgrounds.
- I am always happy to see someone succeed, especially after overcoming adversity.
- As a Jamaican bobsledder, I am super stoked to see someone break the stereotypical mold. As a Taiwanese-American born basketball player, Jeremy Lin doesn’t break the mold, HE OBLITERATES IT!
Stepping out of the bleachers and up to the lectern, I’d like to highlight Lin’s greatest attributes. I’m not talking jump shot, cross-over dribble or court vision—I’m talking about attributes we can use in all our endeavors.
Believe in yourself
Despite being a high school standout, Jeremy received not one scholarship offer. Poor guy had to slum it at Harvard instead of Kansas, UConn or the ‘Cuse. With the Crimson, he managed to handle his studies, and while leading Harvard’s ballers to unprecedented heights. Still he was overlooked by “those in the know.” Earning All-Ivy First Team honors multiple years did not even get Jeremy Lin a look in the 2010 NBA Draft.
He had to settle for a partially guaranteed contract with the Golden State Warriors. He spent more time in the D-League than with the Warriors. He eventually got picked up by the Houston Rockets. Total court time with the Rockets through the pre-season: seven minutes. After Houston released him, the guard-hungry Knicks signed him, then sent him back to the D-League. Injuries to the Knicks’ already rice-paper-thin guard corps, gave Jeremy Lin another chance—to sit the bench. He totaled fifty-five minutes in the first twenty-three games—then it happened. Due to injuries and other issues, those ahead of him on the roster started dropping like flies. Finally, when the coach looked down the bench and he was just about the only one there, Jeremy Lin got his chance—literally a last resort.
Could you imagine, after all those signs indicating you’re not even good enough for a an athletic scholarship—never mind the NBA—to walk onto the Madison Square Garden court under the hottest microscope in the world and perform? Imagine the genuine self-confidence; his unshakeable belief in himself. The fact that others did not believe in him did not discourage him. In fact, it may have made him stronger. He had something to prove!
No scholarships, no draft, bench sores on his butt, racial slurs—Jeremy Lin faced it all. Even before the NBA, opposing teams discounted him, coaches and scouts ignored him, and fans jeered him. His response? PERSIST! Persevere. Now that Lin is an emerging phenom he will no doubt sign a guaranteed contract worth more than ten times what he is currently earning. Let me put Jeremy Lin’s story into a simple mathematical equation for you bottom-liners: Persistence + Perseverance = PAYOFF.
My friend and fellow Jamaican bobsledder Jason Morris says luck enters when preparation meets opportunity. Jeremy Lin can be the poster boy for that kind of luck. First glance, we see an “overnight success.” But a thorough examination reveals a lifetime of preparation and patience. Jeremy’s father taught him everything he knew about basketball. And as a kid Jeremy was either at school, at church, or in the gym working on his game. While other NBA-ers view the D-League as a D-motion, Jeremy used the time to truly “D-velop” mid- and long-range jumpers. Here’s another equation of sorts: If you hope to be half as lucky as Jeremy Lin, prepare twice as hard as Jeremy Lin.
Take your shots when you get them
No pun intended, you have to take your shots when you get them. In elementary school, I learned that the one thing that never comes back is a missed opportunity. The Knicks were off to a terrible start, but even with that, Jeremy Lin would not have gotten off the bench if injuries and other issues hadn’t depleted the roster. So yeah, fate entered, but he was more than ready. The average off the bench point guard comes in shaky and shies away from taking shots because he’s afraid to make mistakes. Only one in a million dare to take over games; dare to take the last-second game-winning shot. Jeremy Lin is clearly not the run-of-the-mill fill-in. He hasn’t just risen to the occasion, he’s raised the bar for all young players who will have to follow. He’s the first NBA player to put up at least twenty points and seven assists in his first six starts. He went from unknown to the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in his FIRST week. Most importantly, as of this writing, the Lin-led Knicks are undefeated in seven games. He hasn’t just taken his shot, he has given his team, the league, and the entire world a shot of adrenaLIN. So the next time, you think you can’t, get YOUR adrenaLIN pumping! With it, you have the potential to be LINvincible!
Keep on Pushing!
As an original member of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team and captain of the 1992 and 1998 teams, three-time Olympian, Devon Harris achieved his grand dream. His current dream is to inspire others to achieve theirs. Tapping the same energy, determination, and skills that enabled him to bobsled with the best in the world. Devon, as a motivational speaker, is now sparking audiences of all ages to dream big and take their “game” to the next level. For more inspiration from Devon, visit his WEBSITE or check him out on FACEBOOK.