So how exactly did Linsanity become Brook-Lin?
It’s been a little more than four years since Jeremy Lin took over the hearts, minds and jerseys of basketball fans across New York with the Knicks, but since then, the new Brooklyn Nets point guard hasn’t quite had the superstar career Linsanity might have indicated. Instead, Lin, 27, has trod a colorful, mercurial path all over the NBA landscape.
Plucked from obscurity? Check. Lin went undrafted in 2010 but received offers from a handful of teams — including Golden State, where he ended up — after a strong summer league performance. He made his NBA debut Oct. 29, 2010, and became the first Chinese-American to make the league.
Overnight phenomenon? Check. Lin played almost 36 minutes off the bench against the Nets on Feb. 4, 2012, and had 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds. In his next game, Feb. 6, Lin earned his first career start and had 28 points and eight assists.
The Knicks won seven straight and Lin averaged 24.4 points, 9.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds in that span. He scored 38 points against the Lakers on Feb. 10. Four days later, Lin hit the game-winning shot against the Toronto Raptors with five-tenths of a second left. The game was being watched in the Lakers’ locker room, and when Lin hit the shot, reporters said Metta World Peace busted through the doors screaming “Linsanity!” The name stuck.
And then all the rest: A substantial free-agent contract, with all the pressure that goes with it. A big starting role. Then came the struggles, the fall from grace, years spent riding the bench, a trade and a second chance — not to be a star, but to be an ordinary cog with some extraordinary moments.
Now, after all that, Lin returns to the city that made him a star. It’s been a wild ride, and he isn’t even done yet.
Jeremy’s Time-Lin since leaving the Knicks:
— Restricted free agent signs a three-year, $25-million contract with the Houston Rockets.
— Lin starts all 82 games for the Rockets in the 2012-13 season but appears to meld less organically with the Rockets than he had with Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks. He averages 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds.
— Lin struggles and loses his everyday starting role. He plays in 71 games but starts only 33.
— Lin is traded to the Lakers and sees limited playing time and limited results. He averages 11.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists.
— Lin signs with the Charlotte Hornets for two years and $4.3 million. When he reports to the Hornets’ arena for the first time, Lin is momentarily denied entry because security doesn’t believe he’s a player. “Everywhere I go,” he hashtags his tweet. The consensus is that he was denied because of his race.
— Lin starts only 13 games with the Hornets, averaging 11.7 points. In seven playoff games, he averages 12.4 points and 27 minutes.
July 1, 2016
— Lin opts out of the final year of his contract, intending to test free agency, and signs a three-year, $36-million deal with the Nets, who expect him to be the team’s starting point guard.