According to former teammate Amar’e Stoudemire, the New York Knicks rejected Jeremy Lin‘s rise to stardom from within.
For a period of 26 games, Jeremy Lin was an international superstar. His face was plastered across New York City, his jersey was flying off the shelves throughout the United States of America, and the NBA capitalized on its rare opportunity to expand its global fanbase by promoting an Asian-American star in the making.
Unfortunately for Lin, his tenure with the New York Knicks came to an abrupt end when his failed negotiation tactics led to his signing with the Houston Rockets.
Or so we thought.
Lin’s run with the Knicks was glorious on multiple fronts, but not everyone took kindly to the overnight success story. Lin was producing and the Knicks were winning games, but the veterans in the locker room seemed to resent the Harvard graduate.
“If [Lin] stayed, it would’ve been cool,’’ Stoudemire said. “But everyone wasn’t a fan of him being a new star. So he didn’t stay long. Jeremy was a great, great guy, great with teammates, worked hard. He put the work in. We were proud of him having his moment. A lot of times you got to enjoy somebody else’s success. That wasn’t the case for us during that stretch. You got to enjoy that and let that player enjoy himself and cherish those moments. He was becoming a star and I didn’t think everyone was pleased with that.’’
That sounds like the recipe for poor chemistry, and a mid-season change of head coaches certainly didn’t help.
Lin is one of the most polarizing players in NBA history. While it’d be common and understandable to praise a player who went from sleeping on his friend’s couch to starring in the NBA, many attempted to deny him of his moment in the spotlight.
More times than not, he made the skeptics pay.
Unfortunately, Stoudemire’s recent comments confirm the belief that Lin’s own teammates weren’t behind him.
Stoudemire’s comments could’ve applied to any number of players, but they’re being perceived as a shot at Carmelo Anthony. Anthony and Lin had a rumored rift while in New York together, and some have credited the former with running the latter out of town.
While most have speculated that Stoudemire was referring to Anthony as the resistant force to Lin’s rise to prominence, ‘Melo has denied that being true by referencing his selfless mentorship of Kristaps Porzingis.
“Wasn’t that five years ago?’’ Anthony said. “I don’t know. I have no comment on that. If [Lin] was becoming a star, we should embrace that. We didn’t embrace that? If that was the case, I’d be upset with KP [Kristaps Porzingis] right now. But I doubt he’s talking about me. I highly doubt that.”
Whether or not Anthony did run Lin out of town, that doesn’t matter much now.
Lin was a star in New York in 2011-12, and has since played for three different teams. He’s experiencing something of a career resurgence with the Charlotte Hornets, thriving on both ends and emerging as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate under head coach Steve Clifford.
Anthony, meanwhile, led the Knicks to 54 wins during the season that followed Lin’s departure.
Clearly, Stoudemire and the Knicks didn’t have the greatest of tenures together. He and Anthony were expected to restore New York to glory, but injuries and a lockout that shortened their first training camp together ended any chance of that transpiring.
In 2011-12, however, it seemed though the unit of Anthony, Lin, and Stoudemire could push the Knicks’ offense to the point of contending again.