"I know this may sound stereotypical," said Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni, "but there aren't many good athletes named 'Jeremy'. I think he's probably had to fight that perception his whole career. But now he's turning a lot of heads."
Despite a dominant high school career in California that saw him make All-State as a senior and win several player of the year awards, Lin was barely recruited and ended up playing basketball at Harvard far from a traditional basketball power. After a standout career at Harvard, Lin went undrafted by the NBA. Many told him to stick to intramural sports or, at the most, try out for the swimming or lacrosse team.
"That was disappointing to me," says Lin. "I felt I was as good as any other high school player in the nation and, four years later, to not get drafted? It really showed me that even in modern day America, there are roadblocks in sports for people named 'Jeremy.'"
Lin says he has drawn inspiration from professional athletes named "Jeremy" who have come before him such as baseball pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey and former NHL star Jeremy Roenick.
"There have been others in other sports Jeremy Roenick was a hero of mine as a kid because he was the first Jeremy to really make it in sports but there has never been a good Jeremy in the NBA," says Lin. "I want to show all the young Jeremy's out there that they can do anything they want to do."
The Knicks players have welcomed Lin onto their team with open arms.
"He's playing great right now," says forward Carmelo Anthony. "I don't care what his name is as long as he can play basketball. One thing I found interesting, though, is that people named 'Jeremy' apparently like to eat a lot of Chinese food."