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Remembering Linsanity

In an exclusive, illustrated excerpt from the upcoming book ‘RISE,’ Jeremy Lin remembers his road to the NBA and reflects on where Linsanity led

Illustrations by Molly Murakami

A decade ago, an undrafted New York Knicks point guard named Jeremy Lin was two weeks into a surprising run as one of the NBA’s biggest stars. On February 19, 2012, he dropped 28 points in a victory over the Dallas Mavericks, recording a career-high 14 assists. That game would be one of the last standout performances of the period known as Linsanity, which made Lin an Asian American icon. Although Lin was reluctant to dwell on the sensation he’d caused in the immediate aftermath of his breakout, he has since opened up about the experience and embraced the power of his platform. In the following exclusive, illustrated excerpt from the upcoming book RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now, Lin recounts the challenges and prejudices he faced on his path to the NBA and reflects on Linsanity’s legacy.

Page 1 of 4. Jeremy Lin describes the struggles he faced as a young Asian American basketball player in high school and college. Lin wasn’t drafted, and then had to prove himself in the D League before a team would give him a chance.
Page 2 of 4. Lin is riding the bench with the Knicks. His agent had told him that he would probably be cut if he didn’t have a breakthrough performance. Soon after that, in a game against the Nets, Lin got solid playing time and ended up with 25 points. This was the beginning of Linsanity.
Page 3 of 4. Lin describes the highs and lows of the Linsanity period. He had a phenomenal game against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, but he also began to experience immense pressure and his family faced abuse. Lin felt the pressure of representing Asian Americans in the NBA.
Page 4 of 4. Lin compares his journey to that of the manga character Naruto, who experiences massive change as his skills develop. While Linsanity was an intense period for Lin, he also calls it a “blast” and wishes that he could have appreciated it more in the moment. Linsanity is over, but Jeremy Lin’s story is only beginning.

From the book RISE. Copyright (c) 2022 by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, and Philip Wang. To be published on March 1, 2022, by Mariner, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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