Houston is still waiting for lift off. Or Linsanity. Or whatever that magic was last February when we saw an end-of-the-bench player transform into a global superstar and look like an All-Star point guard.
Jeremy Lin hasn’t had a hoped-for fantastic start (averaging 11.9 points and 6.4 assists a game) in his first season with the Rockets, the team that won the bidding war for Lin over the New York Knicks this summer and the team that ironically cut Lin when he was only known as a heady kid out of Harvard living from couch to couch.
From scathing reviews of his play saying the Rockets “overpaid” for the 24-year-old to an embarrassing air-ball in his team’s close loss to the Heat earlier this week, Lin’s season has been everything short of spectacular.
In a revealing interview with Yahoo! Sports, Lin felt race was involved when asked about the criticism, saying he felt like he had to justify his contract (three-year, $25 million) and his heritage.
“I was a little surprised, but I wasn’t shocked. I honestly feel it’s part of the underlying issue of race in American society … of being an Asian-American. …I haven’t figured it out. I haven’t wrapped my head around it. But it’s something I’m thinking about.”
Lin said he was used to being a “target,” though because of his race.
“I’ve always been a target,” Lin says. “Everyone looks me and says, ‘I’m not going to let that Asian kid embarrass me. I’m going to go at him.’ That’s how it’s been my whole life. This has been different, though. Now, I was on the scouting report. People started to pay attention to what I could and couldn’t do.
“But a target? I was used to that. I’m not saying I get everyone’s best shot, but I would say people don’t want to be embarrassed by me because of my skin color.”
Lin also opened up about his time in New York in the Yahoo! Sports report, described how he fell under a state of depression because of the massive spotlight that was shining on him last season with the Knicks.
“I went into an absolute shell for a few months in New York,” Lin said. “I went through a phase when I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want to talk to my friends. I didn’t want to give anybody close to me a chance to mess up our relationship. I saw how publicity and fame changed certain people around me, and changed how people looked at me. And I hated it.”