Like a shooting star Jeremy Lin landed into the laps of the New York Knicks bringing excitement back to Madison Square Garden. The Lin-sanity phenomenon took the entire country by storm and everyone from the avid sports fan to the unaware stay at home mom knew the story of the Harvard graduate who slept on his brother’s couch in the day and hit game winners against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at night.
However, just like a shooting star the Lin-sanity phenomenon quietly faded into the abyss, due to an injury to his knee Jeremy Lin sat out the rest of the season and missed the playoffs entirely. Despite his game winners and jaw dropping performances that can be viewed on youtube.com no New York Knicks fan will forget his decision not to suit up in the first round of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, after publicly admitting being at 85%. Although Lin’s decision to not play was a good business decision, I believe it was one of the main reasons why the New York Knicks declined to match the Houston Rockets $25 Million Offer Sheet.
Several pundits will say that the Knicks did not match the offer sheet because of the money, but when your billionaire owner, Jim Dolan gives you a blank check its then necessary to consider another reason. In order to play in the NBA it requires a certain amount of toughness, to play through pain, ignore injuries, and ultimately sacrifice your body for the sake of your team.
As the NBA regular season comes to a close there are no players at 100% but despite their ailments they continued to press onward, delaying surgery and recovery dates until their season has ended either in the regular season or after the playoffs. For example, Dwayne Wade was clearly operating at less than capacity but never reported the obvious choosing to wait until after he won his second NBA Championship with the Miami Heat.
In order to have SUSTAINED success in the NBA toughness is required, and Lin’s decision to not play during the playoffs clearly did not sit well with his former Knicks teammates who initially rallied around the Lin. Carmelo Anthony called Lin’s $25 million offer sheet ridiculous and JR Smith said that Lin’s contract would cause division in the locker room. These do not appear to be ringing endorsements but appear to the voices of angry and frustrated teammates, who played through their own ailments and injuries without excuse, unlike Lin who chose to wear a suit when his teammates could have used him on the floor.
At the end of the day the New York Knicks honored Jeremy Lin’s business decision with a decision of their own. Although a promising future as the Houston Rockets premier player awaits him I believe the Knicks got him Lin at his peak.With his tendencies now known and his toughness questioned everyone will be intrigued to see if Lin-sanity returns in Houston or disappears like a fading star into the dark night. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)