Trying to put Linsanity in the past

VIDEO: Jeremy Lin is introduced to Lakers media

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Linsanity is dead.

At least that’s the direction Jeremy Lin, the recipient/victim of the craze, is going. Then again, he shared the sentiment with a pack of a couple dozen reporters who rushed him at Lakers media day on Monday, a unique reception for a part-time starter in a different city a year ago, and a player L.A. hopes will have a backup role this season (because it will mean Steve Nash is healthy and productive).

Hoping to permanently move the past the madness is off to a slow start so far, but he is ‘so over’ Linsanity he said in even tones laced with a dose of imploring and a hint of groaning. That was, what, one lifetime, two teams and just about three seasons ago? Enough already.

This is a new team and a new start for Lin. There is no better place for a rebirth, actually, because it’s where it all started. Literally. Lin was born about 10 miles from the practice facility (in Torrance) and even though the family relocated to Palo Alto when he was 2 years old and he grew up in the Bay Area, being in California again is still being in California.

“Doesn’t matter where, I just want to be in California,” he said. “I’m happy to be back.”

Only everything has changed since he left. Waived by the hometown Warriors, he signed with the Knicks on Dec. 27, 2011, and went on a ride like few others in basketball history, and probably the history of any sport. The 35 games with New York was like an explosion: the run of at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first five starts, the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining at Toronto, the publicity tornado that turned him into an international marketing sensation less than one year after grinding away in the D-League.

He went to Houston as a restricted free agent, and so did some of the attention. He went to Los Angeles with a first-round pick and a second in a Rockets salary dump for the rights to Sergei Lishchuk. And so did some more attention.

Los Angeles and its Lakers are the last place to go to get away from any Fill-in-the-blanksanity, the latest in Lin bouncing from one large media market to another, but there are benefits. It’ll pass for home, for one thing. For another, the two seasons in Houston provided some separation from the New York dream come true that now is all he is known for. He does not want the anonymity of Sergei Lishchuk. He just wants to be attached to something besides the momentary bright flash with the Knicks.

Maybe he could start a Winsanity, one of the members of the media pack suggested.

“Sure,” Lin responded. “Anything but Linsanity.”

So over it.

“I’ve been over Linsanity,” he corrected. “I’m ready for the upcoming season. For me, Linsanity’s more like a one-off thing. It’s a short duration of time. I’m really looking to build a legacy, a long-term thing in terms of who I am as a person, who I am as a player. It’s kind of irritating to always be referred to as something of the past or some short time of the past or something like that. I think I want to just continue to build who I am as a player.”

The Lin of training camp 2014 is longing for permanence. He appeared as a Warrior in 29 games, after all, with almost as many games in the minors, as a Knick for 35, and then two seasons as a Rocket before being traded to the Lakers to help Houston clear cap space. That doesn’t even count being signed by Houston and being waived after 12 days without playing.

That’s some twisted role — a phenomenon of a success story in going from undrafted Harvard product to instant popularity across continents, yet not able to sustain NBA success for more than a few months.

“I want to find a home,” Lin said. “I feel like, for me, I’m always moving every year, even multiple times in a year. I’ve been to the D-League. Cut. Traded. Waived. Whatever. Restricted free agency. I’ve done pretty much everything. I just want to find a home and be there. I think the best legacies are the ones where you stick on a team and you do a lot for that team year in and year out. That hasn’t been something I’ve been able to do.”

He is 26 now, about to play for his fourth NBA team in five seasons, and one campaign away from free agency and possibly another relocation. The Lakers present the opportunity of entering camp as the backup point guard on a team where the starter can’t stay healthy, and that he brings an intensity and experience they can use.

“If you look at stats,” coach Byron Scott said, “he’s one of the top point guards in this league as far as getting to the basket, so he’s not afraid of contact. On the defensive end, he’s very gritty and he takes a challenge. That’s going to sit real well with me as far as his playing time.”

There is hope on both sides the Lakers acquired something more than a memory. They need a player and he needs a permanent home, neither interested in being compared to the past. Enough already.

22 Comments

  1. Peggy says:

    Go, JLin. My family is rooting for you.

  2. Delilah says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe this web site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning
    to see more, thanks for the information!

  3. luckyfri says:

    i think lin is a good player. today nba has about tons of pg who can score. bulls bench guards in last years: lucas, robinson, augustin, brooks this season. it’s easy to get a guard who is good. there are enough.
    what i don’t understand is that houston gave lin away, no matter if a good trade or nothing like they did. houston is doing that china thing. with new china style gear. they should hire every chinese or chinese/asian decent nba useable player that’s in the league. In consistancy of marketing and roster building. maybe lin could be able to pay off his contract threw jersey sales.

  4. harriethehawk says:

    Trade Linsanity and Kobe Bryant to the Angry Ants for their 2 best players. How do you like them apples?

  5. Chris says:

    JLin needs to be more aggressive…like Yao before him…Yao started his NBA career “shy and timid”…and look what happened…he got punked all over the place…until he realized he needed to be more aggressive…after that he became one of the top big man in the league…JLin will be successful with LAL if he takes that approach to be aggressive…drive the balls to the hole and create double-team situations where he can get his teammates involved…

  6. eli says:

    JEREMY LIN is in my top 10 pg in the league give this man the starting lineup he will be in the starting lineup this season because nash will be hurt this season and they will give him the starting job

  7. TTKIN says:

    As a Laker fan, here is my question:

    What is more likely; LAL winning a title this yr, or Nash being healthy like…at all?

    Cuz honestly, I’d say both are about a .0000000000001% chance.

    Also, Lin needs to stop thinking Linsanity refers to his little 11 game streak with NY or whatever it was. It’s more of a nickname now than anything. If I was on his team, I would call him linsanity the way Shawn Marion is called “Trix”. It’s not a degrading thing like he seems to think it is.

  8. jlin says:

    he is an attacking point guard that needs a team to support him. he is opposite to nash where nash facilitate plays, while lin attacks. he needs to be surrounded by players who move around him. But there’s not possible given that he is not as versatile as guys like D rose, westbrook so..

  9. jumppong says:

    trade kobe for two 1st round picks of Magic.

  10. Dan.N says:

    Jeremy Lin can play like a pro he can! Is just that he a very good boy and obedient to Coach’s decision and not being selfish to steal the spotlight off. Because he is asian… thats why he doesnt get the votes much. Gotta learn to trust LinFu man!

  11. Pako says:

    This won’t be Nash/Dragic, but more like Lin/Nash. The Lakers have enough bodies to frequently cycle through their bench, giving vets like Boozer and Bryant more time to reinvigorate. With talent like Ellington, Hill, and (if healthy) Lin, the Lakers can cause havoc if they go for quick rotations. (Hopefully the Lakers will learn the lessons of the 2002/2003 Wizards.)

  12. NoChipswithMelo says:

    Let’s go Lin!

  13. Sunny says:

    Simple. Trust him and let him play to his strength.

  14. Brian Weng says:

    Always love you, come on.

  15. Odi says:

    Anyone who says Jeremy Lin has not been able to sustain success for more than a few months did not bother to watch his games in Houston. Jeremy was TREMENDOUSLY successful CONSIDERING the impossible conditions he had to play with under McHale and Daryl Morey, who cater to Harden’s every need, which, BTW, included making sure Jeremy Lin does not get any of the spotlight. Jeremy Lin will prove, again, that people like the author of this article underestimates him.

    • Pako says:

      Lin is still a “10/10” player. He continues to push toward getting his teammates involved, which is great. But he still moves like an early Parker or Rondo or Marbury. If given enough time with a team, I’m sure he’ll wind up scoring more, but the primary focus should be to facilitate the team offense and not spear-head it. (Because I seriously worry about the kid’s knees.)

  16. lbj says:

    Lin cannot simply win by himself here in LA. He needs to join our king in Cleveland to win a title.

  17. "smart NBA fan" says:

    they should each play 25-30 mins per game. nash should take him under his wing and show him the ropes being its stev nash last NBA season itd be a great teacher and mentor for jeremy lin a guy with alot of potential but not alot of experience.i also feel kobe can help jeremy lin alot with playing time minutes and being a true leader i will be very upset if he does sit on the bench and not playing out there enough minutes. jeremy lin’s talent has been wasted overlooked and under used by every single nba team he has played on. is it his fault they cant see the potential there? no its not lins fault either that linsanity happened the knicks didnt give him an opportunity and then when they did they were shocked what was there. open your eyes coaches and let this guy play some ball! nash is old i would honestly only use him 20-25 mins per game and let jeremy lin play the majority of the mins.

  18. Moe says:

    Good way for Lin to learn from Nash and be a good floor general.

  19. Thundering says:

    Jeremy can start & when he rests have SteveNash take care of the team offense….. This is an excellent way to help keep it simple for Steve to play the long hard season. The Lakers will need him to help Kobe & Carlos make a playoff run! I dont see the Lakers losing more than 30 games if they can stay healthy. Good luck JeremyLin, im rooting for you