Spring 2021 Magazine

Jeremy Lin's faith-filled, rollercoaster career leads him to NBA Finals with Toronto

It’s been seven years since “Linsanity” took over the NBA, but the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA is about to make his NBA Finals debut. Jeremy Lin’s roundabout journey has led him to Toronto, where the Raptors, in their first Finals appearance, will host the defending-champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 on Thursday.

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When the series moves to Golden State for Games 3 and 4, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Lin, who went to high school in the Bay Area (Palo Alto High) and began his professional career with Golden State in 2010. But since that time with the Warriors, home has been an ever-changing location for Lin.

After hopping between the G-League and the Warriors, Golden State waived Lin in December 2011. He signed with the New York Knicks two weeks later, and bounced between them and their G-League affiliate. But then on Feb. 4, 2012, Lin was given 35 minutes of game action for the Knicks, and he scored 25 points to go with seven assists. He started the New York’s next game — also at home in raucous Madison Square Garden — and scored 28 points with eight assists in 44 minutes. He produced his first double-double (23 points, 10 assists) the next game, which he followed with 38 points and seven assists against Kobe Bryant’s L.A. Lakers.

Linsanity was born. The Knicks won the first seven games in which Lin started or played more than 20 minutes, and he became entrenched as a starter. Lin’s season ended with a knee injury in late March, and he became a free agent after the season, but he had established himself in the NBA.

Lin signed with the Houston Rockets that summer, was traded to the Lakers in 2014, signed with the Charlotte Hornets in 2015, signed with the Brooklyn Nets in 2016, was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2018, was waived by the Hawks this past February, and was then picked up by the Raptors for the rest of the season.

Through it all, Lin has leaned on his faith in Christ. On his Twitter page, which is followed by 2.5 million people, Lin writes, “To know Him is to want to know Him more.” The same phrase is written on his Instagram page, which is followed by 1.7 million people.

“My legacy with the world would be, I would want them to know that I lived for God, I was faithful in my life,” Lin said last year on The Playbook podcast hosted by David Meltzer.

For the Raptors, Lin has played just 23 games, starting three. He averaged 7.0 points and 18.8 minutes per game for the Eastern Conference champs during the regular season, but his time has dwindled in the playoffs. He’s appeared in seven postseason games, averaging 1.3 points in 3.7 minutes.

Lin will turn 31 in August with his NBA future in doubt. But as he’s stayed steady in his faith in Christ during the unpredictable journey he’s been on, Lin will continue to trust the Lord for whatever endeavor is next.

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