Jeremy Lin: The Tim Tebow of the NBA

The Twitter hash tag is #Linsanity. 

Short for the phenomenon that is Jeremy Lin. 

Taking the NBA by Storm

Pro basketball player Jeremy Lin was unrecruited out of high school and undrafted out of college. Three weeks ago he was sent to the developmental league (the minor league) of the NBA. 

Three days later he returned as a benchwarmer for the New York Knicks. 

On February 4, he burst upon the national scene when he scored 25 points, with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. In the week since then, he’s taken the NBA by storm. The next game he had 28 points and 8 assists. Saturday night he scored 38 points, outplaying future hall of famer, Kobe Bryant. 

The Influence of Tim Tebow

In one week and four games Jeremy Lin has become the Tim Tebow of the NBA. For both are Christians first and athletes second. 

In an interview with 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, Lin had this to say about the influence of Tim Tebow on his life. 

“Actually a lot of inspiration just because [Tebow’s] such a polarizing figure but I think the things he says in interviews, his approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much. I want to be able to do some of the things that he does in terms of the amount of charity work and the non-profit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring to me about him.” 

The Christian Faith of Jeremy Lin

At Patheos, Christian blogger, Timothy Dalrymple, interviewed Lin back in 2010 when Lin was still at Harvard. Here’s an excerpt from Part One: The Faith and Fate of Jeremy Lin.  

Dalrymple: “Can you tell us about your faith background and how you got into basketball? Do you think that God called you onto the basketball court?” 

Lin: “My faith and my basketball began separately, then slowly converged, and now they influence each other. But when I first started playing basketball, I was five years old, and my dad put a ball in my hands. Ever since I was a little kid, I just loved to play this game. I was always in the gym. I loved playing. That's what I did for fun, all the time. 

My parents also took me to church ever since I was a little kid. I grew up in the church, but I didn't really become a Christian until I was a freshman in high school. That's when the gospel really started to make sense to me and I was ready to give my life to God. 

Then, Christianity didn't become a significant part of my approach to basketball until the end of my high school career and into college. That's when I began to learn what it means to play for the glory of God. My parents had often talked about it and told me that I should play for God's glory, but I never understood quite what that meant. That was something that really boggled my mind. My parents hadn't gone through what I was going through, being an Asian-American basketball player in America. I thought, ‘I want to do well for myself and for my team. How can I possibly give that up and play selflessly for God?’ 

Slowly, God revealed more to me. I started learning how to trust in Him, not to focus so much on whether I win or lose but to have faith that God has a perfect plan. For me to put more of an emphasis on my attitude and the way that I play, rather than my stats or whether we win a championship. I learned more about a godly work ethic and a godly attitude, in terms of being humble, putting others above yourself, being respectful to refs and opponents. There are really so many ways you can apply your faith to basketball.” 

Read the rest of the interview here.  

And read Part Two of the interview at Patheos, Jeremy Lin, Faith, and Ethnicity.  

Join the Conversation

Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow both pursue Christ’s glory in their athletic endeavors. How could their model positively impact how you live your life every day?

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