Jeremy Lin wasn’t expecting the New York Knicks to feature him in a weekly series dedicated to his accomplishments with the team.
Since departing the New York Knicks as a restricted free agent in 2012, let’s just say the relationship between the people who run the Knicks and Jeremy Lin hasn’t exactly been warm and fuzzy. Visitors to the Garden over the past several seasons could watch highlights of many historical moments on the jumbotron during timeouts, or scan the hallways for memorabilia of game-worn jerseys or photos of spectacular plays, like Larry Johnson‘s 4-point shot in 1999. But anything related to Linsanity has been conspicuously missing.
Which is why Jeremy Lin was shocked when the team reached out to him with the idea of featuring his greatest moments on MSG Networks over the past week.
“When I first got the call from my agent like, ‘Hey, they want to do this,’ I was floored,” Lin said on a recent interview with Rachel Nichols for ESPN’s The Jump. “Because with COVID, right now, New York is going through one of the toughest times that it has seen in decades. It is a very, very tragic time. And the Knicks were like, ‘Hey, we need to do something to uplift everybody.'”
The point guard, who rose from obscurity to international sensation in a New York minute back in 2012, ruptured his relationship with the team after signing an offer sheet with the Houston Rockets designed to make it difficult for the Knicks to match due to luxury tax concerns.
After being kept in the dark from MSG for so long, he was surprised to receive the offer to be celebrated this week on the team’s regional sports network.
“I was just like, ‘Are you serious? Wow, that is amazing,'” Lin told ESPN. “Even for me, I was like, I’m still recognizing and realizing that maybe the impact that that stretch had on people. And so I have so much gratitude to the organization, to the Knicks, to MSG, to Dolan, to everybody for allowing this to happen. Because honestly, I never expected that. … Yeah, I was floored.”
Lin never quite reached the peak of his performance from February 2012 again in his career, slowed considerably by injuries. After missing the entire 2017-18 season with the Brooklyn Nets due to a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee, he was eventually traded to the Hawks before being bought out by Atlanta. He tried to find a role with the Raptors late in their 2019-20 championship run, but again, injuries prevented him from becoming a serious contributor.
Last summer, he signed a $3 million deal to play in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Beijing Ducks. He had his breakout moment in the league when he scored 41 points in the CBA All-Star Game this past January.