Chinese NBA sensation Jeremy Lin had one helluva ride last season, which would culminate in a three-year, $25 million deal with the Houston Rockets after the New York Knicks declined to match an offer-sheet from the Texas team.
His quick rise and big money deal has made the 23-year-old NBA star a regular news headliner, which can sometimes be both good and bad. For Lin, he’s getting used to the fact that he’ll always have people who will doubt his ability … and hate his success.
“I will always, always have doubters,” Lin told the San Jose Mercury News, according to ESPN.com. “But I really want to reach my potential to bring glory to God. That is more motivation than haters and doubters. I want to work just as hard, give just as much, whether or not I have haters.”
During the peak of his “Linsanity” run in February and March, he averaged 18.2 points and 7.7 assists in 25 starts for the Knicks. He says he’s remained humble throughout that period, and didn’t take advantage of his celebrity status, even though he admits it did get to him.
“If I’m being honest, in some ways, yes,” he admitted. “I fought it every day. But I think subconsciously it had its effect, everyone catering to you. People were saying only good things for so long that when people said negative stuff, it was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ ”
Now that he’s signed a major contract, Lin has been accused of being selfish, concerned only with money, instead of staying in NYC for less money with a team that gave him his first shot. The Rockets first offered Lin $9 million in the final two years of his contract, but would go back and change the deal to add $14.8 million in the third year, which would be the final factor in the Knicks’ decision not to match.
Lin, however, says that wasn’t his idea at all.
“I didn’t go back to them and ask for more money,” Lin said. “It wasn’t like they gave me the choice to sign one of the two and I chose the one that would hurt the Knicks. I had one contract offer. That was it.”
Despite a greedy perception to some, Lin passed up on millions in potential earnings by leaving New York, which inspired Forbes to write an online article titled, “Jeremy Lin May Be The Dumbest Harvard Grad Ever.”
Lin says he’s not concerned, though.
“It just comes down to knowing who I am as a person,” Lin said. “People who know me know I didn’t want all this. I didn’t ask for this. It was uncomfortable.”