Courtside

Jeremy Lin sounded somber for the better part of his testimonial recorded by Taiwan-based Good TV. He made the appearance as part of what has now become an annual pilgrimage to Greater China, where he remains the third most popular player from the National Basketball Association after LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. For all his willingness to give of himself by way of hoops clinics and instructionals, he proved to be at his most revealing in front of a packed auditorium of fellow Christians; the league that gave him his biggest break and enabled him to be an ambassador for Asians, he said, has “kind of given up on me.”

It’s a grave assessment from Lin, who just won a championship with the Raptors, but whose extremely limited exposure en route made it something “I don’t feel like I really earned.” He played just eight minutes through the entire playoff run — and exactly 51.7 seconds in the Finals, when head coach Nick Nurse put him in at the end of a lopsided win in Game Three. “In English, there’s a saying [that] once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up,” he noted. “But rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. Free agency has been tough.”

Indeed. Throughout the busiest offseason in league history, Lin has remained unsigned, never mind the record value of contracts inked and his position as the best backup point guard still available in the market. Frankly speaking, demand for a 31-year-old substitute with an iffy jumper and a glaring susceptibility to injury has waned, forcing Roger Montgomery, his agent, to look overseas for prospects. CSKA Moscow has reportedly come calling even as he’s looking into the possibility of suiting up with the Fubon Braves alongside brother Joseph in the Taiwanese Super Basketball League.

For the record, though, Lin wasn’t talking about the downs as much as highlighting the importance of hope. As had been his wont in previous speeches on Good TV, he underscored his belief that circumstances would pick up in God’s time. “I’m here to just tell you, ‘Don’t give up,’” he said, offering his experience as an example of unwavering conviction. And he’s right; the likelihood is that he will be picked up soon. He has, at the very least, the experience to be a positive locker-room presence.

In any case, Lin has promised to continue speaking for and on behalf of minorities. He once viewed the role as an obligation, but has learned to embraced it as a privilege, not to mention a continuing opportunity to bear witness to the power of faith — yes, even while he waits.

 

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development.