Jeremy Lin: 'I'm not trying to (recreate) 'Linsanity.' I'm not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I think I just want to be myself more than ever.'
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — If you ever catch Jeremy Lin’s dad, Gie-Ming, in a pickup game, chances are you’ll see him throwing up hook shot after hook shot.
It’s in homage to "The Captain," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Lin’s father is a huge fan of the Lakers great and the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
Perhaps, Lin was always destined to become a Laker all along.
In the eyes of Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak, it’s been a long time coming. When he met with Lin following the trade that sent the point guard to Los Angeles, he told him "three times is a charm."
Lin, having no idea what Kupchak was talking about, listened as the Lakers GM explained the steps it took for the franchise to finally land the point guard.
Kupchak tried to sign Lin as an undrafted rookie following summer league but because the Warriors also offered, the De La Salle High School alum opted to sign with Golden State and be closer to home.
Once he was waived by the Warriors, the Lakers tried to claim him off waivers but because their record at the time was among the best in the league, they lost out. Houston was awarded the waiver claim.
As the story goes, Lin went to the D-League, Linsanity was born in New York, Houston brought him back — this time with a hefty contract, and nearly two weeks ago, Lin was traded to the Lakers.
On Thursday, Kupchak officially had the chance to introduce to Los Angeles the player he has coveted for quite some time.
"Linsanity" meets Hollywood.
At its peak, "Linsanity" did a number on the Lakers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 10, 2012.
Lin went off for 38 points, seven assists, and two steals as the Carmelo Anthony-less Knicks defeated the Lakers 92-85.
Although he’s been asked about that game often in the past couple of weeks since the trade while vacationing in Asia, it isn’t one he’s spent a whole lot of time thinking about since that incredible night in February.
"I didn’t think of that at all when I first heard about (the trade) but I have replayed that game in my head a few times in the past couple of weeks," Lin said.
"Linsanity" as a whole, in fact, is a distant memory. Sure there were some perks Lin thought was cool — particularly getting to pose for for the cover of "GQ Magazine." There was also the down side of that.
"There’s a lot of the other stuff that I had never been exposed to and really had to adjust to like not having as much privacy and having a lot of people coming at me and my family, my friends and us dealing with that," Lin said. "That’s something that’s made me, my family, my team, and my friends a lot stronger and I think that’s what has prepared us for, hopefully, everything that’s going to happen in the future and I think it will hopefully prepare us being able to play in a place like L.A. with an incredible fan base and the attention you garner just from being a Los Angeles Laker."
The magic he created in the Garden during that stretch isn’t anything he’s trying to replicate. During his first season in Houston, "Linsanity" became a hindrance. He thought about it too much. He tried too hard to be that player from that moment in time.
He begins his period of a time as a Laker with what he says is the least amount of pressure he’s had at any point in his career. He doesn’t want to live on the past but hopefully make the most of the future.
"I’m not trying to relive that banner season and I think that’s been a big weight off my shoulders and I think that’s very important for me as a player," Lin said. "I’m not trying to (recreate) ‘Linsanity.’ I’m not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I think I just want to be myself more than ever.
"My first year in Houston I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that player. Now my goal is I’m not trying to be a player from the past."
His present is now in the Purple & Gold of the Lakers.