Monday, July 16, 2012

The Jeremy Lin Story Belongs in NY

My boy Uncle Jesse said it best, "Only the Knicks can have a day like this -- J Kidd drives into a telephone pole and we lose Lin, some KNix shit." True story, J... and it's sad. For 2 months, I went to basketball courts and people expected Asian mufuckers to ball hard. I remember playing ball at Masaryk the day after the Lakers game and every time I did anything resembling a positive play, people shouted JLin. 

In 30 years of playing hoops, the two months of Linsanity provided the most gratifying basketball moments I've ever had. As stupid as it sounds, there was a different feeling walking on courts and we had fun with it. We saw ABCs flying Taiwanese flags at MSG, American Airlines Center, and the Staples Center among others. Even if we still sucked, we belonged. Asians arrived in the American Basketball Lexicon.

I would never in my life discount the effect of Yao Ming. He's the god, but if Yao exported the NBA globally, Lin penetrated it domestically. He looked like us, talked like us, and had a xanga like us. I could've sat next to this fool in Chinese School, piano concerts, and Kumon Class. My boy Maxwell gave me the SAME EXACT BLACK APPLE JACKET he has on in this video and then I sang the same song as Landry at Karaoke Boho the next night. The kid was spotted at Avenue carrying around one Bud Light all night like he was my brother, Evan! Only an Asian American is capable of getting fucked up, turning red, and being satiated by one bud light for a 3 to 5 hour period. This was the beauty of JLin7, he was real!

He confirmed stereotypes, he broke stereotypes, but we didn't care either way because he wasn't manufactured or forced on us. He just happened and we could tell from jump he was one of us. There was no foreshadowing, there was not a perceived need, but I don't think any of us can imagine Asian America or basketball without him. As much as I wish he had less to say about Jesus and more to say about race, I thank him eternally. My personal agenda and allegiances aren't his nor should they be and that's a tough pill to swallow. 

This is bigger than basketball. Yao was going to redefine the NBA on a global level whether or not he played for Houston, but there was something special about Jeremy in NY. The Simpons are from Springfield, the Transformers are from Cybertron, and Jeremy Lin is a Knick for life. He is the quintessential NY immigrant story. Kicked around, down and out, but these days he could stunt like Killa Cam "drinkin' sake on a suzuki... in Osaka Bay". Hollywood made movies like Rookie of the Year, Eddie, Little Giants, Unnecessary Roughness, and the Sandlot, but for once, here it was in front of us: Jeremy Fucking Lin every other night live in the Garden. You can't write a better script than an Asian person starring in an arena with the acronym for Mono Sodium Glutemate; and no matter what a stripper tells me, it's not supposed to end in Houston. 

This story belongs in New York! I mean really, is there no sanity in this world? I don't blame the Knicks for Jeremy signing a poison pill contract, but I don't blame Jeremy entirely either. I'm just surprised neither party gave themselves an out to fix this shit before it's gotten where it has. Jeremy wanted an offer, the Knicks were stubborn and wanted him to test the market, he found a crazy named Daryl Morey, and the Knicks just got flattened, backed over, then run over once more by Bun B's Cadillac. Is there anyone that can fix this relationship? Don't comedies of remarriage have a punchline? It can't really be Jason Kidd running into a telephone pole... can it? 


I don't think anyone debates that Jeremy's value exceeds his abilities as an athlete. On the court, he's some combination of Ginobili's yardsale moves, Harden's goofy handle, and Jameer Nelson's janky court vision. He's a motley of strange skills, but the one thing he has is fearlessness we haven't seen since Allen Iverson. It's the type of thing you get growing up in Hampton, French Lick, or having Asian parents that make you kneel while holding buckets of rice over your head. I remember Carmelo bowing to Lin during timeouts early on, the disbelief on the faces of Knicks teammates, and the constant media questions about whether he could keep it up. All along, you could see that he believed in himself and it was inspiring.