HOUSTON – No matter how many times you tell Jeremy Lin he is the “face of the franchise” – and he’s been told that a lot lately – he is still that guy crashing on a friend’s couch.
Last week Lin, the Houston Rockets guard who returned to Houston from a trip to Asia, sent a text message to teammate Chandler Parsons. It read: “Sorry to bug u but u think i could crash on ur couch tmrw night until my furniture comes in?”
Parsons got such a kick out of it he posted the message on his Twitter feed, saying he was glad Lin’s new $25 million contract hadn’t changed him. Neither, it seems, has anything else. Lin, 24, gets a bashful look on his face when somebody asks him about being the face of the Houston Rockets.
And he lowers his head when he answers the question.
“Um,” he said, “I don’t know about being the face of the franchise just yet.”
The irony there was that Lin said it in front of virtually every microphone in Houston – and then some — Tuesday afternoon at a little makeshift press availability on the practice floor of Toyota Center. He is most certainly the face of the Houston Rockets, whether he sees it that way or not.
Lin spent a great deal of his offseason recovering from a knee injury and touring Asia. When his knee healed well enough he could play basketball normally, which was in July, he began working on everything about his left hand, his decision-making in traffic, and his outside shooting. He also somehow found 10 extra pounds on his body and lost them, which he says has been a relief for his knee.
And then it was time to find a bed.
“I’m gonna go get some furniture soon,” he said. “That’s my No. 1 priority.”
Lin has been a bit of a squatter, actually. He used to crash on his brother’s couch, then slept on Knicks teammate Landry Fields’couch last year. Parsons’couch ranked second.
“It was in between my brother’s and Landry’s,” Lin said. “A close second to my brother’s. Landry’s was pretty far below. That one was pretty small.”
So he is that guy, but then in a fleeting moment it will hit him how far he’s come since just one year ago.
“Every once in a while I’ll take a look back and say I can’t believe this is happening,” he said. “I had one of those moments this morning just sitting in the training room with the big Houston Rockets logo. I was just appreciating the fact that I get to wake up and play basketball for a living.”