- New York City is a guard’s city. This is an undeniable fact! Sure Bob Cousy is a Celtics Legend, but the “Houdini of the Hardwood” honed the skills that led to six NBA titles, two All-Star MVP’s, and 13 All-Star appearances in New York City. In 1972 Nate “Tiny” Archibald became the only player EVER to lead the league in assists and scoring in a single season, averaging 34PPG & 11.4 APG. We have Mark Jackson 2nd in NBA history in assists, Kenny “The Jet” Smith a two time NBA champion. Hell New York City loves guards so much the Knicks drafted Rod Strickland even though we had Mark Jackson. When kids in Indiana are out shooting on their hoops hanging in the driveway, we’re confined to our apartments dribbling a basketball praying the neighbors don’t complain about it. We learn to enjoy having the basketball in our hands, and love the idea of making another person look silly as we blow past them. Not everyone is great at it and sometimes you make mistakes, but the next play is what matters.
- New Yorkers are tough. We push past tourists while they take pictures, yell obscenities while making hand gestures in rush hour traffic, and don’t you even consider hoping in a cab I was waiting 10 minutes to hail! If you’ve ever balled on a playground in New York City you know that if someone gets you with a crossover the only acceptable response is to go right back at them. New York City guards do not back down. You can question some of the top point guards in the league to know if he’s for real. The Knicks current 5 game winning streak went something like this for me:
Utah- Devin Harris can’t stop him either? Paying attention.
Washington- Wow, this guy is FAST, he’s keeping up with John Wall? Just maybe…
Lakers- Lin’s trading baskets late with Kobe Bryant“Tell me Lin is not about to drop 40? He finishes with 38 and a win.
Toronto- Playing kind of crappy, he’s gonna drive. Why is he holding the ball? He’s gonna shoot a 3? It’s good, wow.
Not just based on the quality of guards he’s going up against, but because he’s playing like a New Yorker. Every team he’s faced has had at least one 7-footer in the paint, and he drives in to finish like he’s the same size. New York State consist of 54,556 sq. miles of which, New York City is just 305 square miles. We’re tiny, but let’s be honest, we run the show. New York doesn’t back down from a challenge, and that’s why our Knicks play 8 blocks from “The Crossroads of the World”. Jeremy Lin is not from NYC, but he understands what’s expected right now.
Sports love an Underdog. Hoosiers, Hardball, Rudi, Teen Wolf, Miracle, The Longest Yard. What do these movies have in common? The teams shouldn’t win. We know they shouldn’t because they’re not as good as the other team or players, but somewhere in our head we decide along the journey that not only would it be cool if they won, but we WANT them to win. (GASP) Jeremy Lin should not have been what the Knicks needed right? No way the kid on the end of the bench can actually play. Two weeks ago, he was more likely to get injured tossing Chandler a water bottle during a timeout, now he’s tossing him alley-oops and chest bumping. We become excited when the kid who never gets time finally plays, but what happens when he carries the team to victory? How do we respond when he does it a 2nd game? A 3rd? We only have two options; disbelief or excitement. The crowd who goes with disbelief will tell you that he dribbles with one hand, that his jumper is shaky, and that he turns the ball over. The people who are excited will say; he improves team chemistry, he plays with passion, and he tries to make plays. Against the Lakers and Minnesota both nights I thought the Knicks’ fourth quarter curse’ as my friends call it, was going to kick back in. Lin saved the day both times. Tonight, he calmly hit a 3-pointer to win.I will tell you, honestly, I’m excited to watch Lin play. I’m excited to see him and Amare in the pick and roll tonight, I’m excited to see what Carmelo Anthony can do with space and a competent point guard, and I’m excited to see what Jeremy Lin will do next. They say ‘It takes time to be great”, and Lin is playing great in the time he’s had.