In a rare interview about his off-the-court life, Jeremy Lin told the San Jose Mercury News how difficult his NBA career has been and how he overcame "questioning everything" to thrive in the pros.
"I'm not playing to prove anything to anybody," Lin told the Mercury News. "That affected my game last year and my joy last year. With all the media attention, all the love from the fans (in the Bay Area), I felt I needed to prove myself. Prove that I'm not a marketing tool, I'm not a ploy to improve attendance. Prove I can play in this league. But I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore."
Lin has turned down most interview requests, including David Letterman, but spoke to the newspaper on the condition that he only be quizzed about his faith.
After being dumped by the Warriors and not getting any real chance to make the Houston Rockets roster in the brief preseason, Lin almost took a long vacation from hoops.
"At the time, I was thinking if this doesn't work out, I maybe needed to take a break from basketball," Lin told the paper. "I put in four months of training. I felt like I worked harder than anyone else. And now I was fighting for a chance to practice. I was questioning everything."
That didn't stop when he got to New York.
"I was playing garbage minutes the first two to three weeks," Lin said. "There was definitely a little bit of 'What's going on?' in my prayers."
While some high school basketball teammates enjoyed a party or two, "Jeremy was known for teaching the Bible to kids and spending time with his family," according to Brad Lehman, who played with Lin at Palo Alto High.
Lin isn't just a basketball player, of course; he's also trying to handle the pressure of overnight celebrity. But he says he's got a plan to deal with it.
"There is so much temptation to hold on to my career even more now," Lin told the Mercury News. "To try to micromanage and dictate every little aspect. But that's not how I want to do things anymore. I'm thinking about how can I trust God more. How can I surrender more? How can I bring him more glory? "It's a fight. But it's one I'm going to keep fighting."
Lin probably isn't too fond of reports from his ancestral home of Taiwan calling him "God in a New York Knicks shirt." But he's sure being treated that way. Lin, who has been sleeping on his brother's sofa, has been offered a custom-made $16,000 couch from a man in Brooklyn who loves the Knicks, reports the New York Post. There have also been offers of apartments.
Even Yankees captain Derek Jeter has fallen for the underdog sensation of the Knicks. "It’s always fun anytime there’s a new guy, especially in New York, they tend to get pretty excited about it," Jeter told the New York Daily News. "He’s brought some excitement to the Knicks."
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