Are there any good guys here? No part of the Clipper Darrell saga that isn’t soaked in greed and pettiness? Here is the part where I’d drop a cute catchphrase about how this could only happen in a certain North American country, but I don’t want Don King to sue me.
It makes me picture A.J. Liebling coming back from a 50-year coma like Martin Luther King, Jr., on “The Boondocks,” perusing the state of the industry and asking his sportswriting descendants: “What happened to us?”
If these stories remind us that nothing in sports is pure anymore, Jeremy Lin – whether he’s here for a short stay or for the long haul – reminds us that maybe some things still can be. The underdog story, the overnight sensation, the outsider infiltrating the in-crowd; these are the scripts we actually enjoy. They keep the concept alive that this whole sports thing is supposed to be, you know, fun.
And now that it’s been more than a month, how much life is left in Linsanity?
Some convincing losses by the Knicks and utterly mortal performances by Lin turned down the volume of crazy, but Lin remains one of the NBA’s headliners and most productive players. The phenomenon that peaked during a national TV game against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 19 – when Lin dropped 28 points and 14 assists and received Magic Johnson’s public seal of approval – was stark contrast to the player who posted a modest 14 points and seven assists in a loss to the Mavs on Tuesday night.
It doesn’t mean Lin suddenly stinks. It does mean he shouldn’t be crowned the NBA’s savior just yet. It does mean we can get a realistic picture of Jeremy Lin the NBA player: A very good point guard with some flaws, whose skills shine especially bright given the right coach, the right system, and the right set of teammates.
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore when Lin goes shot-for-shot and dime-for-dime with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. Nor should it be a surprise when Lin gets torched by the likes of Deron Williams, Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo. Or when he does some torching of his own. That same profile fits Steve Nash, Ty Lawson, Stephen Curry … the rest of the very good point guards in the NBA.
This one also happens to have the kind of pure, positive story that needs to be told more often.
And right now, that’s good enough.
What do you think?
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