A coach’s tale: Knicks guard Jeremy Lin is the kid in all of us
By Bill Holden
Published February 23, 2012 | FoxNews.com
In my father’s generation it was the dribbling of Bob Cousy, the pull-up jump shot of Jerry West, the rebounding of Bill Russell, and the finger rolls of Wilt Chamberlain that children imitated in their driveways and local playgrounds.
My generation had the Larry Legend step-back-fade away shot, the famous Dr. J underhand baseline scoop, the sky hook by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and the Kevin McHale post up series.
The next generation had the magical moves of Michael Jordan and the greatest pick and roll combo of all time in John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Kids of today have Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwayne Wade to imitate.
And now they have Jeremy Lin.
As of February 10, kids across the world, in driveways and playgrounds, started waving their teammates to the baseline and taking a 7-foot defender off the dribble and shooting a three-point shot over him for a key basket on the grandest of all basketball stages—Madison Square Garden. And, yes, of course, they are holding their follow-through on their shot all the way to the defensive end.
Why is this so relevant? Well, Jeremy Lin is just like one of those kids now imitating him all over the world. Jeremy spent numerous hours in the driveway, at the playground, and in local gyms mimicking the moves of NBA greats.
Jeremy is as close to an NBA player that you and I are ever going to be. He’s one of us, and that’s what makes his story so inspiring.
Most NBA athletes are destined for the NBA from a very early age. They are gifted with tremendous abilities to shoot, score, pass or dribble. These athletes are also usually gifted with exceptional physical abilities. They are more than likely blessed with height, speed, the ability to jump, or a combination of all of the above. The great athletes of today are being discovered earlier and earlier in life, as high school and college recruiters use a national network to identify elite talent. And it doesn’t become a question of if these future stars will play in the NBA; it becomes a question of when.
When I came to know Jeremy in the summer of 2005, he was entering his senior year at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, Calif. What I saw of Jeremy that day said nothing to me about him being a future NBA player. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of coaches who saw Jeremy play didn’t think he could even play Division 1 college basketball, and initially, that included me.
My opinion changed the second time I saw Jeremy play, as he showed a unique ability to play basketball at a level that I didn’t think he was capable. Still, Jeremy was maybe 6 feet, 2 inches and around 155 pounds — not a sound combination for NBA scouts or for that matter even high level Division 1 basketball schools.