It was on the cards for months, but it appears Jeremy Lin’s NBA career is over, at least for the moment.
The 31-year-old guard announced on Tuesday that next season he would be moving to China to play for the Beijing Shougang Ducks, a team in the Chinese Basketball Association.
The CBA is the top-tier pro league in China and is widely regarded as being home to the highest-standard of basketball in Asia. The Ducks are one of its preeminent teams, having won championships in 2012, 2014 and 2015 largely thanks to the services of former NBA star Stephon Marbury (who now coaches arch-rival the Beijing Royal Fighters).
He joins a pretty stacked roster (former NBA big-guys Ekpe Udoh and Justin Hamilton are also on there) which underachieved by falling short in the quarterfinals of the CBA playoffs last year.
Unfortunately, despite repeatedly receiving somewhere in the vicinity of $3,000,000 for his one-year sojourn, it seems Lin’s worst fears about his NBA future have been realised.
Earlier this offseason, Lin was remarkably frank about his struggles to find a new NBA home.
“In English there’s a saying, it says, ‘Once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up,’ but rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me,” he said at the time.
“And so free agency has been tough because I feel like the NBA has kind of given up on me. And I always knew that if I gave anybody a reason to doubt, that they would.”
It may be too much to describe his current professional status as a ‘fall from grace’, but Lin’s roller coaster NBA career has certainly seen more pronounced highs and lows than most.
While his stints in Houston, Charlotte, Brooklyn, Atlanta and Toronto – which included averages of 9.6 points, 3.1 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1 Championship ring last year – were solid, it is undoubtedly his month and a half run in New York in 2012 which he will always be remembered for.
“Linsanity” was arguably the most wild period in NBA history. It started with the former Harvard grad – the first Chinese-American and Taiwanese-American player in NBA history – benchwarming for the Knicks. It finished with him slicing and dicing through some of the biggest names and best teams in basketball.
In the space of just over a month he dropped:
28 PTS, 8 AST vs the Nets;
23 PTS, 10 AST vs the Wizards;
38 PTS vs the Lakers;
20 PTS, 8 AST vs the Timberwolves; and
27 PTS, 11 AST and a game-winner vs the Raptors.
If you were too young to appreciate what was happening at the time, acquaint yourself with this video.
It was truly ridiculous. One of – if not the – most unprecedented runs in NBA history.
Here was this young traiblazer – who had been sleeping on his brother’s couch after being cut by the Warriors (his hometown team) and the Rockets – carving up the likes of Kobe Bryant and John Wall, and effortlessly, seamlessly dropping gamewinners which never looked like missing.
Whatever Jeremy Lin’s legacy from now – whether or not he finds his way back on to an NBA roster – he will be remembered forever for the excitement and joy he brought, not only to Knicks fans but to the league as a whole.
Maybe, just maybe – particularly in a league renowned for its insatiable hunger for former NBA guards, read: Jimmer Fredette – Lin will have the chance to show once again that he is capable of mixing it with the best basketball players in the world.
Or, he can drop 38 points and 15 assists per game for the next five years in China and make more money than he ever would have in America.
Either way, the future is bright. And we’ll never forget those six weeks in 2012.
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