Compare & Contrast: Jeremy Lin vs. Ron Jeremy
Apparently, to Melo, Jeremy Lin is not in the fraternity. Or at least, Lin’s place in it is dubious enough that he has not earned the omerta that every other player gets. Anybody wanna try to convince me it has zero to do with Lin being Asian-American? Because, and let’s cut to the quick, Carmelo Anthony never ever would’ve made that remark about a black NBA player’s contract, and I doubt that he ever would’ve said it about a white player’s, either. If Melo thought that Lin was being wildly overpaid but still, fundamentally, belonged in the club, he would’ve kept his mouth shut. He didn’t because he doesn’t.
From the beginning, Melo has always been the Knick most threatened by Linsanity, and the most skeptical about it. There is no question that Lin’s ethnicity is a huge factor in his popularity—a bigger factor, even, than his actual play on the court, as splendid as it has been—but there’s also no question that Lin’s ethnicity is a huge factor in the ongoing suspicion that his marvelous play thus far is a mirage. Now obviously I can’t read Carmelo Anthony’s mind, but it sure seems like he still believes what a lot of people did in those flush first few days of Lin’s meteoric rise: he’t really be this good because he doesn’t look like a guy who’s really this good.
He is happy with his new employer, but less so about the misconceptions that others may now harbor. The notion that Lin has always cared about money above all else, in particular, eats away at him, especially as he sleeps in his childhood home.
“If I really wanted to, I could have triple-digit endorsements,” Lin points out, but he does not. Instead, and in large part because Lin wanted to concentrate on basketball, he declined to cash in on the Linsanity gold-rush — namely, the mountain of business opportunities in Asia — and picked only three companies: Volvo, Steiner Sports, and Nike.
“A year ago, I was just trying to stay alive and fight day by day, just to be on a roster,” says Lin, who famously slept on couches upon his arrival in New York. “What I have now is way more than I ever would have dreamed of, and way more than I need.”
What he doesn’t have, though — and what he deeply misses about those magical two months, back when he was atop the sports world — is something that can’t be bought, and likely can’t be replicated elsewhere, again.
“I love the New York fans to death,” Lin says. “That’s the biggest reason why I wanted to return to New York. The way they embraced me, the way they supported us this past season, was better than anything I’ve ever seen or experienced. I’ll go to my grave saying that. What New York did for me was unbelievable. I wanted to play in front of those fans for the rest of my career.