Jeremy Lin is starting in the NBA for the New York Knicks. There's a good chance the readers of this article just read that sentence in the headline, but it seemed to be worth repeating considering it'll be his first career NBA start and the latest milestone on the journey he took to get to this point in his career.
Lin, the fourth player of Asian-American descent to end up playing in the world's best basketball league, didn't take the clearest path to the NBA. He didn't even take the clearest path to college basketball stardom, really, as Sports Illustrated's Pablo Torre pointed out in a feature two years ago.
The Kansases and Kentuckys, however, didn't exactly knock down Lin's door. He sent his CV (4.2 GPA, perfect score on his SAT II Math 2C in the ninth grade) and a DVD of highlights-edited by a friend of a friend from church-to all eight Ivies, Stanford, Cal and his dream school, UCLA. Only four schools responded. Out of the Pac-10, Lin recalls, UCLA "wasn't interested," Stanford was "fake interested," and during a visit to Cal a staffer "called me 'Ron.'"
He eventually became a star for the Ivy League's Harvard Crimson, though, but dominating lesser-competition wasn't enough to get him drafted despite a senior season that saw him average 16.4 points, 4.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and over two steals per game.
Eventually he found himself fighting for his career on the NBA Summer League circuit. It worked out, too, as a meeting with John Wall in Vegas made the league take notice of the 6-foot-3 point guard's skills.
That game, and specifically the highlights embedded above, is what helped Lin get an invite to training camp with his hometown Golden State Warriors. It seems like it may have been a bit more of a marketing play as opposed to an actual interest in his skills at first, but Lin played hard and did what he was asked as he made it through his rookie season on an NBA roster.
Situations changed following the lockout, however, and Lin found himself on the outside looking in as the Warriors decided to go in a different direction at the outset of training camp. He found himself picked up by the Houston Rockets rather quickly, but was again released when they needed to make room for Samuel Dalembert.
The Knicks next opted to give the 23-year-old another opportunity as they claimed him off of waivers on Dec. 27. Lin was brought on to be an end-of-the-bench-type player and not a starter, however, a fact that rang true when he was assigned to the Knicks D-League affiliate Erie BayHawks. After just one game -- and a triple-double to boot -- Lin was recalled to the big show as he began his ascent up the Knicks depth chart.
It all came to a head on Saturday night when Lin came off the bench for a career night at Madison Square Garden and the rest, one might say, is history ... or will be, anyway, provided he can build upon his impressive performance now that he's in the starting lineup.
It isn't likely, of course, but Lin's been able to buck the odds a few times already.