Jeremy Lin’s fans are no more protective than the fans of any other NBA player. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and just about any other notable personality has his fair share of supporters and detractors. There’s nothing unusual about the general idea. What sets the Lin situation apart from the aforementioned players, however, is that he isn’t a superstar. He’s someone who had a really great stretch more than a year ago, and whose claim to fame is more the byproduct of people’s ideas of what he can be than what he actually is.
Why is Lin such a polarizing figure? Maybe it’s a racial thing. A lot of his detractors seem to be really threatened by the notion that Asian basketball fans root for him on the basis of him being the first really good Asian NBA player since Yao Ming. Perhaps it’s just a hype thing. Some folks don’t like guys getting undeserved praise. It could be both. It could be neither. Either way, there is no denying that the level of attention and scrutiny Lin gets far surpasses that what other people of his skill level typically have to deal with.
That being said, the attention and scrutiny isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Yeah, it must be rough for Lin to have to deal with high expectations, disappointments, non-stop dissections of his game, etc. But those are the very same things that got him a really solid three-year deal with the Houston Rockets, too. He gets criticized for not being able to live up to the standards he set during the height of Linsanity, but at the same time he reaped a lot of rewards from the experience.
During a recent interview, Lin touched on Linsanity and how he’s had to deal with it.
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"One thing I have to remind myself is I just turned 25 years old, and to be honest I really have only been playing consistent basketball in the NBA for a season and a half, if that; and so I'm very young in my career," he told ESPN Radio. "Because the expectations of Linsanity are so big and the shadow is so large... sometimes I have to take a step back and remind myself the journey has just begun."
Linsanity raised expectations to unrealistic levels for the Rockets star, but it also improved his life in more ways than anyone can truly understand. With good comes bad, and it appears as though Lin is finally starting to understand that.