NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jeremy Lin thought he’d be back with the Knicks.
So did New York fans — until Lin signed a three-year, $25 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets.
Suddenly, the biggest story of the 2011-12 season wasn’t worth the cash. In the latest issue of GQ magazine, Lin opened up about his rise to stardom, his health and the offseason whirlwind.
Lin admitted he had thoughts of playing his entire career with the Knicks. The team ultimately decided not to match Houston’s offer, making the 24-year-old cover boy a member of the Rockets.
“You can’t ask for a city or a fan base to embrace somebody more than they embraced me,” Lin told GQ. “I know it’s kind of silly to talk about it with only two years under my belt in the league, but going in before free agency, I was like, ‘I want to play in front of these fans for the rest of my career.’ I really did. I really wanted to play in front of the Madison Square Garden fans for the rest of my career, because they’re just unbelievable.”
The unknown Harvard product became a global phenomenon after sparking the Knicks in February. He averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists over 35 games (25 starts) last season, but wasn’t able to return for the team’s playoff run after surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
“I’d be a huge liar if I told myself, I knew I could do that,” Lin said. “That’s not realistic. Let’s just be honest. I had no idea I could play like that.”
Lin also opened up about his heritage, and the effect he believes it has had on the perception of his game.
“There’s a lot of perceptions and stereotypes of Asian-Americans that are out there today, and the fact that I’m Asian-American makes it harder to believe, even crazier, more unexpected,” said Lin. “I’m going to have to play well for a longer period of time for certain people to believe it, because I’m Asian. And that’s just the reality of it.”
“In my younger days, it would make me really angry. I would just get really (ticked),” Lin said. “I think the comments in college were pure racism. Stuff that was said by opposing players, opposing fans, opposing coaches. So none of this was even close to that.”
The Knicks will face Lin and the Rockets on Nov. 23 in Houston. His return to MSG is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Did the Knicks make the right move by passing on Lin? Be heard in the comments below…