The documentary ‘Linsanity’ opens nationwide on Friday. Filmed around the ascent of Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin, the film is a long-awaited document detailing his rise to prominence as a member of the New York Knicks during a whirlwind month-long performance in the winter of 2012. Lin, the first Asian-American to play in the NBA, is unique on any number of levels, and the piece is certain to be compelling viewing for basketball-niks and non-fans alike.
It’s not entirely full of good cheer and triumphant turns, though, as the film details Lin’s uneasy 20 month-turn between going undrafted out of Harvard, and starring for New York’s top team. This includes Lin’s work with the Golden State Warriors, his first NBA team, and one that was rightfully criticized for treating Lin as a fan-luring curiosity, instead of a player worth taking a chance on.
Lin, who is so often reserved or rehearsed with the media, is as candid as can be throughout.
There is a scene of Lin, while talking with a group of kids at a basketball camp after "Linsanity" had died down, saying he wanted to quit the game while he was with the Warriors. Amid rumblings that their decision to sign the undrafted point guard had more to do with marketing than it did his talent, Lin was discouraged. He played 33 minutes the entire month of December 2010.
"On Dec. 29, I wrote about how I actually wish I never signed with the Warriors," he tells the children. "'I wish I could quit basketball (he wrote),' because I wasn't having fun."
Many of us recall Lin starring in the 2010 NBA Summer League with the Dallas Mavericks, so free agent offers were sure to hit prior to the 2010-11 season, but Golden State’s recruitment of the rookie seemed a little off. Golden State had been sold to a new ownership group earlier in 2010, and though current owner Joe Lacob has been rightfully lauded for turning the franchise around, he has dealt with some fitful turns.
Like staging a press conference to announce the signing of an undrafted rookie who was working on a partially-guaranteed contract, just about unprecedented in this league, as they did with Lin. Or leaving him inactive for their team’s first contest of the season, but giving him minutes two nights later on ‘Asian Heritage Night.’ Let’s not be completely callous and call out the Warriors, and their rabid fans (who cheered for Lin throughout the game, hoping for garbage time minutes) made the rookie just as sheepish, but it was a worrying relationship.
With the Warriors looking for every bit of free agent space they could scratch out while attempting to sign restricted free agent center DeAndre Jordan (who always was going to be matched by the Clippers, no matter how many extra hundreds of thousands Golden State threw at him), Lin’s partially guaranteed $800,000 deal was cut during the 2011 training camp. Houston also decided against retaining him later in the fall, but luckily the Knicks glommed onto Jeremy, and the rest is cinematic history.
We think. We haven’t seen the film yet, though parts of it look fantastic.
Whatever the down moments, it’s fantastic to have a fully healthy (in spirit and in ligament) Jeremy Lin ready to lead those Rockets to perhaps the second round and beyond, starting this month. 2010 has to feel decades away, at this point, for Jeremy.