Jeremy Lin was born August 23, 1988 in Palo Alto California and grew up there. Today, he is an American professional basketball player with the New York Knicks of the NBA. It may be hard to believe that Lin, a 2010 Harvard graduate achieved all this without an athletic scholarship out of high school and even being undrafted out of college. Today Lin’s life and career demonstrate success through adversity. What does it take to achieve such levels of success? How can you too defy the odds of life to fulfil your dreams in life? You can begin by taking a page out of Lin’s book.
His Early Career
A four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at Palo Alto High School under coach Peter Diepenbrock, Lin successfully captained Palo Alto High School to a whopping 32–1 record and further upset nationally ranked Mater Dei, 51–47 for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II state title. Subsequently, he was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year, ending his senior year averaging 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 5.0 steals.
Eagerly, Lin sent his résumé and video highlights of his high school basketball career to each Ivy League school. He also sent copies to the University of California, Berkeley, and his dream schools Stanford and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). None of the Ivy League schools offered him an athletic scholarship, but Harvard and Brown offered him a place on their team. Many believe that Lin was not chosen because of his style of play which is not entirely explosive. He puts it this way "I just think in order for someone to understand my game, they have to watch me more than once, because I’m not going to do anything that’s extra flashy or freakishly athletic."
Lin At Harvard
In July 2005, the then Harvard assistant coach Bill Holden observed Lin carefully for the attributes of a player he required. While he matched the physical stature and academic standards, Holden was initially unimpressed with his Lin’s ‘on court’ abilities. This was until he witnessed Lin playing in a much more competitive game, driving to the basket at every opportunity with what was described as "a killer instinct.” Lin became a top-priority for Holden and in a bid to secure a prospective professional player, Lin was offered a place at Harvard.
Lin played for all four years at Harvard, appearing in 115 games (87 starts), averaging 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.96 steals. He subsequently became the first player in Ivy League history to record 1,450 points, 450 rebounds, 400 assists and 200 steals. Lin now ranks first all-time at Harvard in games played, fifth in points, fifth in assists and second in steals. This impressive record has earned him a number of distinctive awards. Lin was named All-Ivy League First Team as a junior and senior, USBWA All-District 1 First Team and NABC All-District 13 as a senior, NABC All-District 1 First Team as a junior, and All-Ivy League Second Time as a sophomore along with other impressive accolades.
Professional Career – The NBA
If drafted, Lin would have been the first Ivy League player selected by the NBA since Jerome Allen of Penn in the second round in 1995. However, after graduating from Harvard University, Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. He then joined the Dallas Mavericks for mini-camp as well as their NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.
In five Summer League games, while playing both guard positions, Lin averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 18.6 minutes per game and shot a team leading 54.5% from the floor. He turned heads in his matchup against first overall pick John Wall when Lin scored 13 points to Wall's 21, but did so on 6-for-12 shooting in 28 minutes.
In 2010, Lin signed a multiple-year professional contract with the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association. The Warriors were his favourite team growing up and Lin was able to realise his dream of being a part of that team. Today, Lin has what has been described as a cult like following and is one of the most celebrated basketball players in the league. How did he do it?
Even against the adversities he faced, and despite the odds he persevered. He realised a dream that he refused to remove from sight. This is the kind of determination and dedication that produces success, stars and champions. Your struggles may be different, but it will take the same mind-set and qualities to succeed. Today Lin’s life is testament to that, decide now if yours will be as well. Navito (The Caribbean Current)