In sports and in relationships, it’s a tough pill to swallow when your former collaborator/partner moves on. Often it’s best for both parties, but this fact doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.
For Jeremy Lin, a world champion, multimillionaire, and star of the moniker #Linsanity that enveloped the New York and national media in 2012, he is still figuring this out.
“Rock bottom just seems to be getting more and more rock bottom for me,” Lin said recently, addressing a Christian group in Taiwan. A teary-eyed Lin added:
“Free agency has been tough because I feel like, in some ways, the NBA has given up on me.”
In a hyper-competitive league such as the NBA, there is only a finite number of roster spots. One day you can be at the height of your powers, and seemingly the next day you’re fielding no offers and are out of the league.
The NBA, in conjunction with life in general, waits for no one.
Recently, we have seen this time and time again in basketball. Carmelo Anthony was one of the top-10 players in the league, for years, and now not a single NBA team wants to pick him up.
Isaiah Thomas finished fifth in MVP voting in the 2016-2017 season. He was a superstar offensive player that just happened to get injured in one of the greatest runs we have ever seen from a player under 6’2”. Now, for the second consecutive season, he has signed for a different team for the minimum amount.
This league waits for nobody. And it definitely doesn’t do players any favors.
Lin is fresh off of winning the NBA title with the Toronto Raptors. He is the first Asian-American player to ever win a ring. Lin has accumulated a whopping amount of money over his career, most of which was built off his epic run with the New York Knicks during the winter of Linsanity. With so much to be happy and proud about, it is not unnatural to ask why he is so upset.
But it is a hard thing to feel left behind and unwanted. No matter who you are, if your partner leaves you or your job dubs you, it can be crushing for a long time. Kendrick Perkins, a player beloved by his teammates throughout his career, is one who knows what it’s like to feel left behind, spoke out in support of Lin.
Jeremy Lin’s situation is a harsh reality of the NBA. Very few have the opportunity to dictate when the league moves on from them. So for the ones that have the privilege to have one of those 450 spots, cherish it.
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) July 28, 2019
Lin has compiled a solid career for himself. After a year in the (then) D-League for the Golden State Warriors affiliate, the New York Knicks claimed Lin off of waivers and expected him to be the backup to the backup point guard. But injuries piled up, Lin got his shot, and under D’Antoni’s offense, Linsanity was born.
The buzz that was Linsanity was epic for New York and the entire NBA. It was a beautiful time for starving Knicks fans who always seem to have hope and then have it quickly snatched away from them. But in a shocking change, this time Knicks fans had little hope and Lin swooped in as their white-knight hero.
Lin is injury-prone, and not near the player he used to be, but his ball-handling ability, and now, championship pedigree, can be useful for many NBA teams. He has a right to be upset with his quiet free agency.
Often our expectations are what cause the most emotional distress in us. And no doubt Lin thought some team would have picked him up by now.
But we still have to dream. High expectations are just an evaluation of our own value and image of ourselves. Lin can show us and his huge base in the Eastern world that when you’re being passed over and forgotten, that’s when you have to turn up the most.
That is precisely when you make people feel stupid for ever doubting you.