At this point, it is pretty clear that nothing is going to stop Jeremy Lin from reaching his goals.
As a kid in Palo Alto, California, there wasn't much in the line of competitive basketball. Lin's mother had to create a program out of thin air to allow her son to participate in the game.
As a teenager, after leading his high school to a 32-1 record and the California Interscholastic Federation Division II state title, Lin received no scholarship offers to play college basketball.
Even after sending out a resume and highlight reels of his play to every school he desired, Lin was shut out by schools like Stanford and UCLA. Instead, it was Harvard University that gave Lin a chance. More than 3,000 miles away from his hometown, Jeremy Lin would play Division I college basketball.
Then there was Lin's disappointing freshman campaign. He battled through that and became an All-Ivy League Second Team player as a sophomore. From there, he improved into a First Team selection his final two seasons with the Crimson. As a senior, he shot 52 percent from the field for 16.4 points per game, leading Harvard to a 21-win season.
Despite a growing reputation, Lin was not selected in the 2010 NBA draft. He was invited to participate in the Summer League, and after a solid performance there, he was offered and signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors. The last Harvard player to play in the NBA was Ed Smith back in 1954.
Even after reaching the NBA, nothing was assured. He was consistently bouncing between the D-League and the Warriors. All-in-all, Lin played 9.8 minutes a night over 29 appearances.
Prior to the 2011 season, Lin was waived by both the Warriors and the Houston Rockets. Finally he found a spot on the New York Knicks bench. After another brief stint in the D-League, Mike D'Antoni gave Lin a shot. He hadn't played much in 23 prior games, but he started for the first time on February 4, 2012.
Then Lin became a huge story in the NBA and played a massive role in turning around the Knicks' season. A knee injury held him out of the final games and the playoffs, and again doubt swirled around him.
Now, with a big contract in his pocket, Lin is with the 8-8 Houston Rockets as the team's starting point guard. After achieving all this, what now is motivating Lin to carry forth toward an NBA championship?
Nobody knows better than Lin how tough it is to find a job in the NBA. Lin has seen the other side of this game, because that is where he started. He knows how hard he had to battle to climb out of basketball obscurity and into the big spotlight.
Time spent in the D-League and overseas have taught him that a little bit of fear is good. Fear motivates you to never let up.
Lin knows that if he slips, he'll wind up back were he was not long ago; looking for work outside the game of basketball.
While he is by no means having a great season with the Rockets, averaging 10.9 points and 6.6 assists per game while shooting 39 percent from the field, there is no doubt that Lin is working hard to improve.
Houston at 8-8 is a little bit of a surprise. They were picked very low in the preseason, but the addition of James Harden and solid play of Lin and Omer Asik have affected those predictions.
In his last three games, Lin is averaging 13.7 points and 8.7 assists. The Rockets are winners of four of five games and remain firmly entrenched in the Western Conference playoff race.
It is important to allow for an adjustment period, especially for young players with a new team and especially for point guards. The Rockets have thrown a lot of new players together and entrusted Lin to manage the floor. Sixteen games isn’t enough time to judge, but a solid first half of the season will be helped along by the fear of failure.
The fear of finding himself back where he worked so hard to leave.
Like it or not, money is the greatest form of pressure in the world. Jeremy Lin is making a lot of it, and the Rockets will be spending even more to have him as their point guard.
That puts a lot of pressure on the 24-year-old to succeed quickly. At three years and $25 million, this is a contract that can look either like a bargain or a hindrance on the team going forward.
The jury is still out on Lin’s real worth as a starting point guard, but you can bet that his contract is motivating it.
A lot of analysts and fans consider him overpaid for a player with such little NBA experience. That is a lot of what was talked about during the offseason, when the Knicks refused to match the Rockets’ offer. If we all know that his contract is a major, polarizing subject of debate, he does too.
He has come a long way from sleeping on his brother’s couch in New York while battling on the Madison Square Garden court, and he knows it. That money he has to his name is now more than he ever imagined as a kid in Palo Alto or as a player with the Reno Bighorns.
Money motivates all of us to strive toward perfection in our work. Jeremy Lin is no different. That contract is plenty incentive for him to fight toward an NBA championship.
As a boy shooting hoops at the local YMCA, Jeremy Lin probably dreamed about hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy after winning an NBA championship.
This is one universal motivation that reaches across all basketball players of all ages in the world. Rarely are you out there shooting hoops just to shoot hoops. Your imagination wanders, and suddenly there are five seconds left in Game 7, with your team down one.
An incredibly small percentage of us get to experience what our imaginations showed us as children. Jeremy Lin is both lucky and deserving enough to get that opportunity to experience his childhood dream.
We never dreamt about signing a big-money contract or being on the cover of magazines. The dreams were about the competition, about the trophy, the atmosphere and the win.
While his story may take longer to tell than most NBA players, Lin had the same dreams as a kid and wants to taste the reality just as much as the next guy.
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