When the New York Knicks needed a spark during the 2011-12 season, Jeremy Lin took a bite out the Big Apple, emerging as a superstar for the team en route to a playoff appearance. With his torrid stretch dubbed “Linsanity,” many believed that it would be crazy if the Knicks didn’t re-sign Lin after his historic run.
Early indications suggested that the Knicks would do everything to keep Lin, matching any offer that a team extended to the restricted free agent. However, when the Rockets offered Lin a backloaded three-year, $25 million deal, the Knicks surprised everybody and allowed Lin to walk. Taking Lin’s place as the Knicks’ starting point guard was Raymond Felton.
Lin’s former teammate with the Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire spoke with Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN about his departure from New York. While Stoudemire has high praise for Lin, he revealed that not everybody shared his sentiments during that time.
“If he stayed it would’ve been cool. But everyone wasn’t a fan of him being the new star. So he didn’t stay long. But Jeremy was a great, great guy. Great teammate. He put the work in and we’re proud of him to have his moment. A lot of times you gotta enjoy someone’s success. And that wasn’t the case for us during that stretch.”
The Knicks writers are fascinated tonight by Amare’s thoughts on Jeremy Lin, perhaps forgetting that the Heat effectively ended Linsanity.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 29, 2016
Mike Norris of Bleacher Report notes that Reynolds is referring to the infamous game in which LeBron James and Heat were able to shut down Lin, playing difficult defense on him. He shot just 1-for-11 from the field and committed eight turnovers. However, the success he enjoyed before that was unexpected, to say the least.
After being a virtual unknown during his first few seasons, Lin came to New York during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Starting off in the D-League, Lin’s future as an NBA wasn’t promising. He revealed to that he was considering leaving basketball if he couldn’t experience success in the NBA. Shortly after he made his debut with the Knicks, Lin caught fire, routinely making highlight reel plays and outplaying some of the biggest names in the game.
Going by the eye test, Lin’s stats during his brief 35-game (25-start) stint with Knicks don’t look all that impressive. Totals of 14.6 points and 6.2 assists are decent numbers but don’t tell the whole story of how impressive Lin was. However, a meniscus tear in his knee cut his season short and ended his career with the Knicks. But while he was recovering from the surgery — hoping to help the Knicks in the playoffs — he expressed his love for the team.
“I’m definitely comfortable here,” Lin said to ESPN while he was recovering from his ailing knee. “I love New York, I love the fans. They gave me a chance, they believed in me. That’s why I’m here today, so I owe a lot to this organization.”
[Featured Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]