Jeremy Lin’s New York City encore hasn’t played to the kind of early reviews the NBA star swingman surely imagined.
At 2-4, his Brooklyn Nets are mired near the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings and have been blitzed by an average of double digits in each of their lopsided losses. Now comes word Lin, the unquestioned face of the franchise, will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a strained left hamstring ESPN reports he suffered during last week’s win over Detroit.
But the Ivy League schooled Lin hasn’t gained the reputation of being one of the league’s most thoughtful players by being shortsighted. And, true to form, he is all about keeping his early season struggles in perspective, hinting he harbors no regrets about his Big Apple return.
“At first, I was really upset,” Lin admitted to FANSIDED about his medical shortcomings.
“I came back to my locker, and I wore pink shoes that day for Ava (a friend who suffers from leukemia). I immediately saw the shoes and started thinking about her, and I immediately ended my pity party. It could be a lot worse.”
All the Nets’ recent follies have served as Exhibit A to that argument. The team is desperately hoping to have Lin back in about two weeks, with both sides silently agreeing his return can’t come soon enough if the franchise is to have any immediate chance of finally appeasing a long-suffering fan base.
Over the team’s first five games, Lin led the team in assists (6.2 PPG) and was tied for third in scoring (15) behind Brooks Lopez and Sean Kilpatrick.
That’s not a bad early return on the three-year, $36 million deal the Nets signed Lin to over the summer in free agency, officially marking his New York City return.
Still, both sides would almost have to admit to their lament over Lin not being available for one of the first games they all undoubtedly circled on their respective calendars when they decided to come to terms.
That would be against the cross-borough rival Knicks, the place where the era of “Linsanity” first took flight more than four years ago when Lin went on a magical month-long stretch that virtually made him a household name in NBA circles and far beyond.
The Nets travel to Madison Square Garden to face the new-look Knicks on Wednesday night, but it’s a given that Lin will be missing in action and reduced to street clothes in his first return to Manhattan as a member of the Nets.
Still, this now far more mature and level-headed version of Lin, compared to the caught-up-in-the-moment version of him that was leading the Knicks back in 2012, internalizes his newfound opportunity for what he truly senses it could be.
“In no way am I trying to recreate anything,” he said of then and now.
“I’m very big on always pushing forward and what’s next, that’s how I’m wired. I don’t dwell in the past whether it’s regrets or accomplishments.”
For a team like the Nets that won just 21 games last season, talk of having a tough interior comes as welcome news. The new buzzwords around the organization have everything to do with talk of a change in “culture.”
And the now tried and tested, seven-year veteran Lin is definitely on board.
“I think that’s the best way to say it,” he said, adding that he’s always seen himself as a leader and over the years has learned plenty more about what it takes from such made-men teammates as Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
“I definitely feel a much stronger responsibility for this leadership role that I didn’t in my last two to three teams,” he recently shared.
“I feel like for me here, a lot of it’s going to fall on me and Brook setting the tone every day in workouts, even how we live off the court and how we take care of our bodies, eat and sleep.”
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]