There was no fanfare in Jeremy Lin’s official return to New York yesterday. There was no media throng, either.
That’s the way it goes when a player plays for the Nets. It’s night and day compared to playing for the Knicks. It shows the Nets are irrelevant in the city’s conscience.
For Lin, that’s just the way he likes it.
The former Knicks point guard seeks normalcy after being overwhelmed by being popular for his brief Knicks stint. He wants to play basketball, not answer questions from the media every day. He does not want the game to be about him.
Being popular took a toll on him with the Knicks. He admitted it several times. It wasn’t just dealing with the media. He was cognizant of his teammates’ jealousy of his 15 minutes of fame.
Some players can handle popularity. Some can’t. Carmelo Anthony seeks acceptance from anyone, and same can be said for LeBron James. For Lin, that’s not what he was striving for. He is just like the normal blue-collar human being. He wants to put in the work and go home.
Lin did all he could to grant media request because it was the right thing to do. He wanted to show humility from his success. He did not want to come off aloof.
The new Nets point guard dealt with so much buzz for his success because the Knicks have been so bad and unwatchable since Patrick Ewing retired. There hasn’t been a star that fans gravitate to. Anthony hasn’t done much to inspire fans with him not playing defense and coming up lame when it matters the most. Lin at least did both, so fans like that. Plus, his success was such a feel-good story since it came out of nowhere. He was a phenomenon.
Lin’s popularity became a problem for him. He did not want to be known as a novelty act. He wanted to be known as a basketball player.
In the last few years, he hasn’t had to deal with Linsanity nonsense. He was just Jeremy Lin. A player that was a contributor to the team, not a guy dealing with fame.
It made him enjoy the game. It made his life normal. It helped him develop at his own pace.
It wasn’t going to happen for him with the Knicks. Not when Anthony and J.R. Smith resented him. Not when he had to answer questions day after day after his success.
Basketball did not become fun for him anymore as a Knick. It’s one of many reasons why he left the Knicks to sign a lucrative deal with the Rockets.
He comes back to New York being content. Now, he has a score to settle. He wants to show the Knicks they made a mistake of not taking him seriously as a basketball player. He aims to not be a novelty act in the minds of Anthony and Smith. His goal is to be a transcendent basketball player for the Nets.
He will get his chance. He is going to get starters minutes. The ball will come to him often considering there are not many scorers on the Nets roster. He is the star of a bad basketball team.
If Lin wins games and make the Nets a better team, his time with the Nets will be a success. Same can be said about his basketball career.
He will get every opportunity to succeed. It helps he will be paired with first-year Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who he worked with when the new Nets coach was Mike D’Antoni’s assistant coach with the Knicks.
Atkinson knows Lin’s strengths. In fact, it was he that worked with the point guard exclusively during their time with the Knicks. So this could work well.
If Lin can set a foundation for the Nets, it will be rewarding for him. It’s why he signed with them. To be the guy that changed the culture of a moribund franchise would mean something for him.
This would help him settle the score with the Knicks. This would show them he’s a basketball player that can help them win games. What better way to do that than play for the Nets.
He rather gets popularity through wins than the media.
He has his chance with the Nets.
He gets the best of both worlds by being a Net.
He lives a normal life, and he can stick it to the Knicks often.
Who has it better than Lin from his perspective?