Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Heart Exam - Jeremy Lin

Unleashed. Fearless. Hero. The Legend. The Enforcer. The One. Just a mere 10 days ago, you probably recognized these are famous Jet Li movie titles. Now, these are words synonymous with Jeremy Lin. If you're reading this blog, you care about sports. And if you care about sports, you know about the magical journey of Jeremy Lin. When I started this column, I was waiting for someone like JLin to come along -- someone whose heart is bigger than their game, someone whose heart speaks louder than their words. Jeremy Lin is all that and more.

Everyone identifies with Jeremy Lin in their own way. That's what makes this story so feel good. A winner, a baller, a Christian, an Asian-American, an underdog -- take your pick. But the one facet about JLin that ties all this together is his humble heart. Imagine if you will that if at every interview, Jeremy would say things like "I knew I was this good", "I hope I've proved all the doubters wrong", or "I don't think anyone can stop me." Would the sports world be so ready to jump on this bandwagon? But the fact is Jeremy is winning, Jeremy is surprising, and Jeremy is humble.

As a Christian, Asian-American myself (yes, Christian first), I identify with JLin and the way he lives his life. Christianity teaches to put others before yourself, to be a humble servant, and to do it all for the glory of our God. Every time I watch him play and hear him speak, I see all of that in Jeremy. Servant leadership is rarely seen in basketball because we all want that superstar to be a superstar. MJ, Kobe, Wilt, Shaq -- we want to see the superstars show their swag. When you dunk on a guy, go ahead and stare at him or point even. Block a shot? Wag that finger. Most talked about athlete in sports? Give yourself a tattoo of "Chosen One." In a sport where often times superstardom can overshadow the success of the team, Jeremy Lin is showing us and showing the NBA how he's pioneering a new road for others to follow. Like Floyd Mayweather, you can be quick to point to the fact that he's Asian and all of this is just a race issue -- and he's partly right. But if that's all you are taking away from this, then you're missing the big picture. Jeremy Lin has a heart of a champion. He has a heart of kid who knows his roots. He has a heart of a humble servant. So hats off to you JLin, because VaLINtine's 2012 will forever be remembered as the day you captivated all of our hearts.


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