ORLANDO – Jeremy Lin grew up in the Bay Area, in Palo Alto. Chris Mullin played most of his Hall of Fame career in the Bay Area, in Oakland. Lin wears No. 17 with the Knicks. Mullin wore No. 17 with the Warriors.
But, Lin said, any connection is strictly coincidental. While he may have been a young Warriors fan just as Mullin was finishing the first of two playing stints with Golden State, and 17 is an unusual number to choose, it is not a Mully tribute.
“I didn’t even think of that,” Lin said. “But he’s a great player. Trust me, I’m a fan of his.”
Lin prefers No. 7. He wore it last season while playing for his hometown team. When he was sent to the National Basketball Development League, he picked No. 17. When he signed with the Rockets in December, Kyle Lowry had 7, so Lin went with 17. Same thing in New York. Carmelo Anthony wore 7, and Lin took 17 again.
“Seven was my number last year, and it’s one of God’s numbers that he uses throughout the Bible,” Lin said. “And I chose 17 because the 1 was kind of to represent me and the 7 was to represent God. When I went to the D-League, I had 17, and so everywhere I go, He would be right there next to me, and so that’s why I stuck with 17.”
Just as Mullin is scheduled to have his 17 – the other 17 – retired by the Warriors on March 19.
“Luckily they’re retiring my jersey,” Mullin said, “because if he keeps this up, his jersey will be retired throughout the world.”