BACK IN THE BAY: One-on-one with Jeremy Lin

GETTING TO THE POINT — In the fourth quarter, Jeremy Lin (at left) goes one-on-one with Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30). photos by Scott Nakajima / Nakajima Photography

GETTING TO THE POINT — In the fourth quarter, Jeremy Lin (at left) goes one-on-one with Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30). photos by Scott Nakajima / Nakajima Photography

OAKLAND, Calif. — Heading into the All-Star break, the Golden State Warriors entered their Feb. 12 game against the Houston Rockets needing a win to snap a four-game losing streak.

Fans packed into Oakland’s Oracle Arena not just to see the Warriors, but also to cheer on Rockets point guard and Bay Area native Jeremy Lin, a Taiwanese American whose stellar play has established him as one of the NBA’s rising stars.

To celebrate Asian Heritage Night and Chinese New Year, Warriors announcer Jim Barnett sat down with Lin following the Rockets 116-107 win over the Warriors to discuss his heritage, faith and “Linsanity.”

What follows is an excerpt of their conversation.

Jim Barnett: Jeremy, these are questions coming from a lot of the people. How do feel about the international recognition of the game as an Asian American athlete?
Jeremy Lin: I think it’s unique, I’m thankful for it. … I feel like it’s unchartered territory in certain respects. I’m very thankful to come back to the Bay and celebrate Chinese New Year and see all of the Asian faces here. Man, I appreciate all of you guys showing up.

JB: How did you feel about the term “Linsanity” when it hit New York?
JL: I’m OK with it. I told all of my friends and family if anyone calls me any Lin puns they’re not going to be friends anymore. But I was OK with everybody else talking about it. But in terms of who I am as a person, my friends and family need to keep calling me Jeremy.

JB: How does your family feel about the new found fame?
JL: It’s tough, tough for all of us. I think we’re kind of quiet people. We recognize it and learn to embrace it. There are so many cool things you can do with the platform. What we’re trying to do is use it to influence the upcoming generation, whether it’s sharing my faith or talking about perseverance or racial stereotypes, things like that.

JB: How did you change from your first year with the Warriors to when you went to New York? How did you elevate your game to such a high level in such a short period of time?
JL: That’s a good question. I’d say first and foremost God used me in a miraculous way and I’ll be the first to tell you that I didn’t realize or think that I could do what happened. There’s a lot of things that came together at once going through my rookie year here, just a lot of ups and downs. I just came out my second year and said look, I’m going to play the way that I’ve been playing my whole life and if I go down and it doesn’t work, at least I’m going down playing my style of basketball.

JB: Were you more relaxed your second year? You must have worked on your jump-shot in the off-season tremendously.

AT EASE — Jeremy Lin sits down with Warriors announcer Jim Barnett for a postgame interview attended by many in the Asian American community. photo by  Scott Nakajima/ Nakajima Photography

AT EASE — Jeremy Lin sits down with Warriors announcer Jim Barnett for a postgame interview attended by many in the Asian American community.
photo by
Scott Nakajima/ Nakajima Photography

JL: Yeah, yeah. I got a shooting coach, Doc Scheppler, my high school coach. … (He) said I need to spend summer or lockout with him. So we went over there to Palo Alto, Calif., shooting hundreds of jumpers a day.

JB: What kind of values did your parents teach you to keep you so grounded?
JL: Well I think my parents do a good job and my brothers. And they don’t care how well I play or anything like that. They treat me the same. And my church family, my pastor and my friends from church, they keep me accountable. … When I have a community of people around me, pushing me to be a better person, it helps for sure.

JB: Is there any particular player you admired growing up?
JL: Michael Jordan.

JB: Any particular Warrior player growing up?
JL: I had a Latrell Sprewell poster. I had Chris Mullin jerseys. I had all types of Warrior memorabilia growing up.

JB: I’m surprised to see you in Houston because New York wanted you back and you changed everything back there. You enabled them to get a cable agreement and fixed New York in that respect because at that time they couldn’t get it all together. Because of your sensational play they did that, but you chose to stay and play in Houston. I know you got good money but I know you were given a good offer from New York. Why Houston over New York?
JL: Well the way it works with restricted free agency is, I got to sign the offer sheet. So I signed an offer sheet, that was the only offer I got and then I waited three days for New York to choose to match or not. They looked at everything business wise and they decided they didn’t want to match it and so I ended up in Houston and that’s the way it all went down.

JB: I would think there would be less scrutiny in Houston? A little quieter there, have your privacy a little bit more there, go out and enjoy yourself. Not as much glamour as it was in New York.
JL: Yeah, Houston is a different city. I’m from the suburbs in the Silicon Valley, so you know, we like a slow, slower-paced lifestyle. So it’s a lot more Houston than New York, but I’m thankful for everything that happened in New York.

JB: I understand that’s your home now. You’re living there most of the year besides the basketball season?
JL: Oh, in the off-season? I’m coming back here.

JB: What do you miss most about the Bay Area?
JL: Bay Area, shoot, everything! My friends and family, they’re here. I grew up here, you know everything is familiar here — the restaurants, the weather, and people and lifestyle. It’s what I grew up with and it’s what I love.

JB: What’s your favorite Asian food?
JL: Whatever. My mom makes some really good stuff. There are a lot of them, but there are about four things I really like. She knows my favorites so she makes them every time we get to spend some time together.

JB: What advice would you give to young Taiwanese Americans who aspire to be a role model for others?
JL: I would say love God with all your heart and to pursue your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. Like when you give your best effort and trust in God, he’ll always take care of you. He’ll always plan a path for you.

JB: Well you’re going to be in the NBA a long time. If you hadn’t played in the NBA and if you weren’t an NBA player, what do you see yourself doing?
JL: I’m a big fan of working with underprivileged kids and being able to help them in whatever way. I’m here because of really good role models and people in my life, otherwise I don’t know who I’d be today. So just sharing my faith and helping them to be able to accomplish their dreams.

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