Posted August 21, 2013

Jeremy Lin recounts sleepless, tearful struggle to live up to ‘Linsanity’ with Rockets

Ben Golliver, Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport)

Jeremy Lin (left) averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists for the Rockets last season. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport)

In an emotional, candid speech delivered to a youth conference in Taiwan, Jeremy Lin opened up about his struggles during the 2012-13 season with the Rockets, admitting that he couldn’t eat or sleep at times and that he once cried before a game because he was worried that he would lose his starting job.

Lin, 24, averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists for the Rockets after signing a three-year, $25.1 million following a breakout 2011-12 season with the Knicks. Although Lin wound up starting all 82 games, he saw his playing time cut at various points in the season, and often wasn’t on the court to close games. Houston did qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2009, but Lin was largely ineffective in the playoffs due to a chest contusion.

The following is an extended excerpt of Lin’s speech, in which he states that the Rockets coaches were “losing faith” in his abilities and admits that he became “obsessed with trying to be Linsanity.” Quotes via this video from YouTube user goodtv.

“As the 2012-13 season started, I was supposed to be the cornerstone of the Houston Rockets. I was supposed to be their new leader, the main guy to finally lead the Rockets back to the NBA playoffs. I was expecting to come in and pick up right where I left off [in New York]. I was ready to invigorate the entire city of Houston. All across Houston, you could see my face on the billboards. I thought I looked so cool.  I was supposed to save Houston basketball, but most importantly I was ready to be Linsanity. As I’ve seen many times in my life, what actually happened was nothing like what I had planned.

“First off, we signed James Harden. … With the addition of James, I went from being the franchise guy to taking a back seat. On top of that, I started the season playing terribly. Less than 10 games into the season, I started getting benched. In many games, our back-up point guards were playing more minutes than I was. At this point in the season, my stats were significantly worse. The coaches were losing faith in me, the basketball fans were making fun of me. Journalists were criticizing me. My Twitter feed was filled with all types of hateful words. I heard, ‘overrated, overpaid, a flash in the pan, a bust, a nobody.’ As a result I became really, really frustrated.

“On Dec. 15, 2012, I wrote in my diary: ‘I’m tired and weary and can’t wait for the season to end.’ I went on to write, ‘I haven’t been able to eat or sleep recently. I’m just tossing and turning with anxiety. What if I lose my spot as a starter? What if I have to be the back-up the rest of the season? What happens if my back-ups are actually better than me?’

“I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player. I was so obsessed with living up to my contract and I became so obsessed with trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA and the world by storm. Linsanity was supposed to be my breakthrough, where I went from being stuck on the bench to experiencing new freedom as an up-and-coming star. Houston was supposed to be a fresh start, a new beginning, a new journey.

“Most of all, I was supposed to be joyful and free but what I experienced was the opposite. I had no joy and I felt no freedom. I felt chained to the world’s lofty expectations. I felt like I had to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. That’s why I couldn’t eat or sleep. That’s why I was no fun to be around. I never smiled. In fact, I even cried before a game against the New Orleans Hornets because I was so anxious about losing my starting spot.

“I had to self-reflect. I had to ask: Would I allow myself to listen to what everyone else said about me? Would I allow myself to be consumed by my performance on the court? To be consumed by my job? I based my self-worth on how many points I scored or how many games I started. I based my self-esteem on being the player everybody else expected me to be. My identity should never have been based on basketball. This is when God showed me I needed an identity check.”

Rockets GM Daryl Morey recently defended Lin in an online interview, noting that Lin’s youth, injury issues and the huge post-New York expectations are reasons to believe that his 2012-13 season wasn’t as bad as some thought.

Hat tip: GospelHerald.com

37 comments
stewartalaniz
stewartalaniz

Waaaah! I get to do what I love and make millions. Waaaaaah!!!

AaronHe
AaronHe

Clearly, he is saying what he thinks is what god thinks he should do.

OK
OK

Lin,

Your Leader, Reverend Mao Tse Tebow, doesn't whine this much. And Reverend Mao Tse Tebow relies on Divine Intervention and Fox News to keep his NFL gig.

You have some talents. 

Grow up, stop whining, and play the damn game, punk.

tc007
tc007

You should have posted a link to his entire testimony. In this event with 20,000 attendees, JLin used his experience of last season to inspire and help the young kids in Taiwan to overcome their own adversities in life. If anyone had bothered to actually listen to it, you would have a better comprehension of where he was coming from. He is truly someone of good character who is working hard to be who he is. Wish him have a great 2013-14 season.

DAJS6
DAJS6

Jeremy Lin is a breath of fresh air from all the egomaniacs in the NBA. He's real! 

royaladam84
royaladam84

If you do NOT want to be in the spot light, then just be YOU. Be you & don't fake to be the person who you are not. The reason why he got this fame, is because the Asian community supported him because of his skin color,he meet the Ambassador of Taiwan,getting paid $25.1 billion, & only dominated 6 games. He's a scrub who got lucky.  

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

It is not his fault many people did not realize he could not keep up that pace forever, once teams studied him, his performance was guaranteed to diminish.   At least he gives effort.

308nykpc
308nykpc

What a Two Different World of GM JLin has..... Knick's Glen Grunwald is an opportunist and a Liar, Rocket's Daryl Morey is an honourable keeper of his words and a true supporter of his teamship.....     will see the Harvester of loyalty and faithfulness prevail at the end !  God and justice shall reign.


308nykpc
308nykpc

Stay Close to God and be True to yourself as always, God will bless you.... you have long blessed way to Go !!

List
List

Lin has never mentioned the residual from the 2012 knee injury that basically kept him below 100% all year. Morey alluded to it, Everyone else knew about it, but no one ever talked about it.

The question is whether he'll be able to get the explosiveness back or not.

I really like Morey's take on Lin - it normalizes everything so well.


MarkSweetipo
MarkSweetipo

Wow for being a crazy Christian he only used the word God once and never said anything about Jesus my Mexican gardner.  Bet SI left those parts out.

spiderminion
spiderminion

I didn't expect Lin to pan out. Linsanity was lightning in a bottle. He can still be a decent sixth man though, but he's never going to be the main guy, or even the 2nd or 3rd option. That's still not a bad position, considering he went undrafted.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

I'm really not interested in the whining of a guy making $8 million per year to play basketball. The Rockets drastically overpaid for a guy who had ten extraordinary games. The moment teams started paying attention to Lin and guarding him the magic was over. He can't guard the bigger, stronger players he is now facing and he is not showing any signs of becoming a play maker in the Nash mold. Be glad for your 15 minutes Jeremy.

priteshd
priteshd

Hey Lin, your time will come. It was genius stroke my Mike'D. You proved him & yourself what you could do. It was more like news flash for you & the world. Greats like Steve Nash, Magic, Stockton are not the product of 5-10 brilliant games. Steve Nash played for Dallas for many years before he got the system, coach & players around him that made him great. Keep working on your game, keep learning, be health smart, sacrifice some mins for your team & one fine day you will play the game for entire year like you did for few games in NY city. Like your honest sentiment, please don't change that ever!

AliceZindagi
AliceZindagi

I hope I'm not the only one who is loving the fact that Jeremy Lin represents a huge change for Asian children in the United States:

http://www.abcsofattraction.com/blog/jeremy-lin-why-having-asian-american-role-models-heroes-is-important/

The thing we all need to remember is that kids have the easiest time looking up to people who look like them. That's easy for white kids - we see ourselves portrayed as doctors, lawyers, athletes, actors, actresses, businesspeople... whereas we still have Asians often relegated to characters barely removed from Long Duk Dong. That's not very fair, is it? Having Asians in a POSITIVE position, having someone like Jeremy Lin representing something different for Asian children to look up to, is the change we need to see for Asian kids.

bambam824
bambam824

Good honesty from Lin, the world needs more of that.

Doblem298
Doblem298

Utter Crap player at a ridiculous salary. Why doesn't he just go back to China and let the real boys play in the NBA.

TumericTJ
TumericTJ

Jeremy Lin had a solid season and was just recounting some of his struggles during the season.

Admire his integrity, glad that he proved not to be just "a flash in the pan," and am excited to see the big three of Howard, Harden, and Lin (hopefully still with Asik!) on the court next season.

Macheen
Macheen

Wow! We had to wait all of 2 comments for a racist to appear. What took so long? Might be a new SI endurance record.

allmona
allmona

overrated. very overrated

ccc
ccc

@OK he's not wining idiot, he's saying he focused on the wrong things and that he let things that are not as important in life control how he felt as a person. why don't you learn to actually think properly and also grow up yourself? how about doing something constructive with your life rather than posting baseless posts in order to feel better about your worthless existence? moron...

plansmaker
plansmaker

@royaladam84 

Getting paid $25.1 billion? Are you freaking high? Lin is making $8.2 million/season of 3 year contract. There are 82 players in NBA making more than Lin. His salary is about NBA average per season.

BlackieChanXXX
BlackieChanXXX

@List Lin never blames his poor play on his own injuries. As an athlete, he knows he has to give 100% even when he's 75%.

WCoastPro
WCoastPro

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius   So he writes his most personal thought process in his diary and shares it to a group of Taiwanese youth in a prepared speech, and you consider that whining? You must be one bitter individual.   

JulesG
JulesG

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius I am curious as to why him being open and honest makes him a whiner. Why do fans make athletes seem like they have to be devoid of feelings or the things normal people deal with? So he was paid 8 million dollars to play....it's not easy to get in the NBA by any means and he worked hard to set that up. Now to live up to the precedence you set....it's difficult as was shown. I applaud Jeremy's honesty instead of dumping on him for being a real person.

JRobinson
JRobinson

You sound just like some of the white folks who said similar things to me when I first started in MLB. By the way do you know what Martin Luther King said on the Washington Mall exactly 50 years ago? Go find and read it if don't,

MicahCheng
MicahCheng

@Doblem298 i don't want to be mean. but, i guess you may want to go back Africa and let the white guys play in america. 

literally, the above is what you said. 

h2opolopunk1
h2opolopunk1

@Doblem298 Wasn't he born in the United States? (hint: the answer is yes)

Try to be a little less racist. 

kj4027
kj4027

@TumericTJ When they signed Harden I knew that Lin was going to have a problem. Lin does very well when the ball is in his hands and he is the play maker. Harden is similar to guys like Melo and Kobe. Those guys occupy the ball and the ball movement comes to a standstill while they go 1 on 5. Harden likes to bring the ball up the court and control the offense. Lin is a true point guard and does better bringing the ball up and passing. Harden only passes as a last result. During the season Mchale realized the team operated better when Lin and Harden were not playing together. Lin also played better when Harden was on the bench.