Back in 2012, “Linsanity” took the world by storm as Jeremy Lin went on a 26-game run, leading the Knicks 16-10. Then, the phenomenon vanished. After that year, Lin was plagued with ankle and back injuries. He missed 46 games in the 2016-2017 season alone. It was a remarkable turn in his career. Now he is out of the NBA completely.
The NBA is a business and they rely largely on players that people will want to watch play basketball. A big reason for why nobody wanted to sign Lin during his free agency could have been because of his history with injury and missing games. Also, teams didn’t want to risk losing money if nobody wants him in a future trade. After his free agency, Lin said in an interview, “I feel like, in some ways, the NBA has kind of given up on me.” After years of injuries and bouncing around between teams, he has chosen to sign in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Beijing Ducks.
For a brief moment, Lin was arguably one of the most talked about athletes in the NBA, leading the Knicks to many victories, sparking what commentators called Linsanity. Lin went from barely playing in games, to being known all over the league.
It started on February 4, 2012, when Lin played a total 36 mins for the Knicks, dropping 25 points and leading the team to a 99-92 win over New Jersey. This was big for the Knicks because they had lost 11 of their last 13 games. Lin was at the center of several wins including a seven-game win streak. People thought that Lin would lead the team to a championship.
Then, it all came to an end. After two months of his reign, Lin tore his meniscus, forcing him to sit out for the remainder of the season. “It’s a big blow” said Coach Mike Woodson soon after the team announced the news. The Knicks ended up losing to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Lin never played quite the same again. He went from averaging 18.2 points in the 25 games he started for the Knicks in 2012, to averaging roughly 11.6 points for the rest of his career.
He bounced around from team to team for the remainder of his career, and was continually plagued by injuries. He joined a total of eight different teams. During his time with the Brooklyn Nets he had several injuries including an injured hamstring and a ruptured patellar tendon in just two seasons. Despite his three year, 38-million dollar contract with the Nets in 2016, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks for the next season, before the team bought him out and he signed with the Toronto Raptors. He still won his first championship with the team but he felt that he didn’t earn it. The Raptors already had two point guards, Kyle Lowry and Fred-Vanvleet, they didn’t really need a third which is why Lin didn’t get to play as much as he might have wanted.
Jeremy Lin has been one of the biggest basketball names in China for years, so it was almost inevitable that teams in China would be offering him contracts.“I’ve always known that my journey in some ways would end in China.” Lin said in an interview earlier this summer, but there was never a known time of when he would move. He signed a contract with the Beijing Ducks reportedly for $3 million a year. In another interview in Taiwan earlier this summer, he broke down in tears talking about his career in the NBA, mainly talking about how he thinks that the NBA has given up on him. Which is why he chose to move leagues, to get a fresh start. Still, he made almost 65 million dollars in the NBA and will continue making more in the CBA.
Lin said in an interview, “There’s a saying, and it says once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up, but rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me.” But playing in the CBA with the support of the majority of his fans, gives him a new chance to grow his brand. And that has already started as he has signed a shoe deal with Xtep, a Chinese sportswear company, whose founder called Lin, “China’s biggest basketball player.”
Image credit: USA Today