The rise of Jeremy Lin in the NBA universe has been nothing short of meteoric. One week he is sitting on the sofa watching the Knicks on TV. The next he’s occupying the last seat on the bench watching from the courtside in a Knicks uniform. Then, he’s given an opportunity to play and over the next few weeks he leads them to seven straight victories (136 points in first five games is an NBA record for a start). With some Michael Jordan-esque type moves, combined with a three point buzzer shot winning a game, a few breathtaking steals, and shooting foul shots under pressure; New Yorkers have been in “Linsanity.” His #17 jersey has suddenly been sold out, and he’s the “talk of the town.” Spike Lee sings his praise, Kim Kardashian wants a “date,” Michael Bloomburg says he’s “good for New Yorkers,” his twitter handle @JLin7 goes viral, etc.
The main story line is that he is undrafted (that’s unusual for the NBA). He’s a Harvard graduate (How many Harvard graduates do you know who can play basketball?). And he’s the first American player in NBA history to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent (this is a league dominated by African Americans with Asians having few role models in the NBA).
Though the story which has not been told sufficiently, in my view, is that Jeremy Lin is a Christian. He may not be quite as vocal as Tim Tebow, but he has made it clear that He gives God all the glory for his talents. He has repeatedly given God the glory in the plethora of interviews in the last few weeks. There is one statement he made recently which really struck me as a profoundly Christian statement. He was asked how it felt to be suddenly mobbed by hundreds, if not thousands, of screaming fans who follow him wherever he goes, asking for his autograph and even to get mentioned by the President of the United States. None of that seemed to phase him. Jeremy said, “I play for an audience of one, God – that’s it.” Wow – what an amazing statement. What a great summary of all Christian ministry. We play for an audience of one…. God. We live before Him, we preach before him, we pray before him, we serve before him. If we remember this one lesson we will do well. Thanks, Jeremy, for the reminder. May your life not just bring glory to Madison Square Garden, but to the King of kings, Jesus Christ.