Who could better appreciate The Jeremy Lin Story, this pro basketball version of "Rocky" and "Rudy" together, than the team from Hollywood? Yes, the Lakers know a lot more about Lin than they did at this time last week, and yes, they appreciate the script.
Not that they enjoyed the story or the ending Friday night. The Lakers were somewhere between stunned and dejected after Lin scored 38 points in the Knicks' 92-85 win. Still, they couldn't get around it.
"It's a great story," Kobe Bryant said after Lin outscored him. "It's a testimony to perseverance and hard work."
Bryant wasn't buying the plot line that Lin had come out of nowhere. "It just means we haven't been paying attention to him. The skill level was probably there all along," he said.
When a reporter from China asked if he had any suggestions for the first Chinese-American to play in the NBA, Bryant said, "I'm not going to give him any damn suggestions. He almost got 40 points against us."
Actually, Lin was not totally unknown. The Lakers did consider signing him after he was cut loose by the Warriors, Brown said. They did see him a bit last season, when Lin was in their division. "I knew he used to miss layups on the fast break at Golden State. I know he used to turn the ball over at halfcourt. He was trying to find himself," said Metta World Peace, the former Ron Artest. "He's playing ball now."
Before the game, World Peace acknowledged what a role model Lin is to Asian- Americans. And the New Yorker in him jabbed advice to the new NBA comet: "You're in New York, the fashion capital. Change your haircut. Wear some shades. Put down the nerdy Harvard book glasses and put on some black shades. Put on some leather pants.
"Come to practice with your pants sagging and say, 'I don't feel like practicing. Practice? Practice?' Come to practice with a cigar, lit. Have some swag. Put down that law book.''
Afterward, he was more subdued and direct, saying, "He's a good player. It's that simple."
Brown was unhappy that the Lakers rarely put a body on Lin as he drove to the hoop but added, "Having said that, he played a terrific ballgame.''
Said Pau Gasol, "I think you can stop a player from getting 38 points on you no matter how good he is. I guess we didn't step up to the challenge. We overlooked him, I guess."
Bryant was reminded that Saturday's headline would be "Lin Outscores Kobe." He smiled and said, "Enjoy it. The judgment will be next season."