The Jeremy Lin Era has officially ended in New York. It’s truly a bitter sweet pill to swallow. Jeremy Lin was, undeniably, my favorite sports story of the year (I’m a Giants fan and that includes their Super Bow Run). I loved the Lin story for three reasons and none of them have to do with race, sleeping on couches or handshakes (okay, maybe a little has to do with handshakes).
The first reason: his play. The guy was easily the most exciting player on the Knicks (sorry Melo, sorry Amare, sorry Chandler, sorry Novak(?)) this year, even without all the story lines. Alley-opps, crossovers and game winners, it was like watching an And 1 mixtape every night.
The second, and most self aggrandizing reason: I called it. I know this sounds like bullshit, but hear me out. It was January 24th, the Knicks looked terrible, a lot of that terrible coming from whoever was playing the point. To say Toney Douglas was playing like garbage, isn’t fair to garbage. To say Mike Bibby looked old, isn’t fair to Larry King. And although, Iman Shumpert definitely has tools to be a very good basketball player, he definitely doesn’t have tools to be a very good full time point guard. Then on January 24th, the Knicks, in the midst of a blow out win, brought in Jeremy Lin. In six minutes he had eight points and four assists, he was blowing past guys, getting into the lane, drawing fouls, getting his teammates involved, he looked good, really good. It occurred to me, in the few games (and even fewer minutes) he played, he always looked good. He always seemed to get into the lane, he also seemed to make good passes, he looked like a real player. My biggest regret of 2012 came on that night. I watched that blow out game at work, went on Facebook, typed in the status bar, “This kid Lin needs to play,” then thought “who wants to read this (?),” and deleted it. I missed my chance to have it time stamped. Two weeks later, Linsanity exploded.
The third, and most important reason: he saved the Knicks’ 2012 season. The Knicks were 7-15 when Linsanity hit. Melo and Amare were injured, they looked dead in the water. Then, BOOM, they rattle off seven straight wins, and head into the All Star break on a 9-3 tare. All of a sudden, the Knicks became the most interesting team to watch, the entire team came together, Jared Jeffries looked competent and Steve Novak caught fire. Of course then Carmelo came back, ruined it all, before eventually saving it all (again), but without that mid season injection of Lin the Knicks would have been buried.
So, that’s the sweet, now for the bitter. Carmelo Anthony.
In crunch time they always show the stat, what active players have the most game winning shots, on the top of that list, Carmelo Anthony. If you ever watch him play there is a pretty simple reason for this, in the fourth quarter of close games he takes EVERY SINGLE SHOT. I’ve seen Jordan pass on the last shot, we’ve all seen Lebron pass on the last shot, but I’ve never ever seen Melo pass on the last shot or, for that matter, any shot with less than
two five minutes left in a close game. Why? It’s simple. There is no way Carmelo Anthony will ever let anyone eclipse him on his own team. He wants the attention. That’s why he demanded a trade from, a better team, Denver to, a worse team, New York. Players are motivated by different things. Micheal’s motivation was winning, Kobe’s motivation is being better than Micheal and Carmelo’s motivation is the attention. There is no way Lin and Melo could have co-existed. Impossible. Much to Carmelo’s chagrin, Lin was the most popular player on the Knicks, the media darling, the star. But here the rub, for all the nice things I said about Lin and all the Hater-ade I just threw on Melo. Melo is the better player, plain and simple.
It all culminates in deleting this photo from my phone. The photo that encapsulates Jeremy Lin’s rise like no other .