You have no idea how many times I started to write this piece. About an hour after the Knicks beat the Mavericks on Sunday, I sat in front of my computer determined to write something – anything – about Jeremy Lin. I stared at a blank screen for a while, and then the inspiration came. I wrote 3 paragraphs. They were the best 3 paragraphs I had ever written… until I read them. Those great paragraphs I wrote? They sucked. DELETE.
I took a quick break, then went right back to it. Blank screen. Inspiration. I wrote 4 paragraphs this time. They were the best 4 paragraphs of my life; I was sure of it. Then I read them. Terrible. DELETE.
I spent the next 5 hours repeating that process countless times. Each time, I was sure I had broken through; sure I had found the right words, the right angle. Each time, I failed. Miserably. So I gave up. I’m not writing about Jeremy Lin, I decided. I just can’t find anything to say. I told Matt Moore I wanted to write about Lou Williams instead. That went over really well.
Still, I set out to write about Lou Williams. Unfortunately, someone somewhere had other plans for me. My plan, as you may already know by now, was to write about how Lou Williams uses screens to get open looks. For some unknown reason, I couldn’t get those videos to work. I was frustrated. I went to sleep.
I woke up Monday morning and wrote that piece about Lou Williams. It ran, people read it. Maybe some liked it, maybe some didn’t. I was satisfied with it. I was writing again. I figured, I’m in a rhythm right now, I’ll try to write that Jeremy Lin thing again. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. It was just more of the same. I’d write a few paragraphs, read them and then delete them. So I gave up again.
This time, I didn’t even tell Matt what I was writing about instead. I just wrote it. I spent the time between my first class of the day and what I thought was my second class (it was canceled by the Professor in a horribly confusing email) writing an article about Shaun Livingston. Again it ran, again people read it. Maybe some liked it, maybe some didn’t. Again, I was satisfied with it. And again, I was writing. I wanted to try to write about Jeremy Lin again, but I had precious little time before class. And I didn’t have an angle anyway.
I started talking to Andrew Lynch on G-chat. I told him everything you just read. I tried and tried to write about Lin, but I can’t. I can’t find the right angle, the right words, nothing. I’ve hated everything I’ve put on paper.
“Write what you have to say. Even if it’s nothing,” he told me. I told him that the thing of it was, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to say. “Sometimes writing about nothing is liberating.” And then I got the real idea. “I’ll write about how I can’t write about Jeremy Lin..” “Exactly.” “He’s driven me to the point where I literally have nothing to say.” (If you want to listen to a podcast where I alternatively yell things that make little to no sense and struggle for words while trying to describe Jeremy Lin and his impact on me, New York, the Knicks, world peace, World Peace and the cast of Glee, click this link.)
What is there left to say about Lin that hasn’t already been said, and said well? Every time I tried and failed to write about Lin, it was mostly because I kept feeling like I was writing something that someone else had already written and written well. There’s been such an avalanche of fantastic writing about Lin and everything that’s gone on around him.
Every angle imaginable has been covered. His effect on the Asians and Asian Americans? For one, I’m not Asian, and I couldn’t do it intelligently. Besides, Danny Chau’s been done, done that, in incredible fashion. Statistical analysis? That’s what True Hoop is for. Could anyone have predicted this? Someone did. Visual and video breakdowns? Mike Prada and Sebastian Pruiti did those. How can he fit with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire? Matt Moore had his own idea. What effect has he had on the Knicks? Done. On Mike D’Antoni specifically? Howard Beck did wrote on it. The Harvard thing. The turnovers. The puns.
Honestly, what more is there to say when after a decade of despair and depression, the guy who finally, mercifully turns around the fortunes of your favorite team isn’t Amar’e Stoudemire, isn’t Carmelo Anthony, isn’t Tyson Chandler but rather is an undrafted, unheralded, unknown, Asian-American point guard from Harvard who was cut by two teams before the season even started and was about to be cut again if not for Baron Davis having yet another setback in his rehab?
Should I write about how he was sleeping on his brother’s couch before all this craziness happened? What about how Melo may or may not have been the one who told D’Antoni to give the kid some playing time? His relationship with Yao Ming? Hid admiration for Jason Kidd, another Bay Area point guard?
What do you write about an international sensation who lights the sports world on fire over the span of two weeks? Should I really keep comparing his court vision to Steve Nash’s? His attack dog style to Derrick Rose? His flair to Magic Johnson? How many more times can people read about Lin-Chandler pick-and-rolls still being the primary action and how Carmelo lurking on the weak side for mid-range jumpers and isolations against rotating defenders can actually be a good thing? About how he saved Mike D’Antoni’s job? How he saved the Knicks’ season?
Can I really go on and on about the effect he’s had on Landry Fields and Iman Shumpert, who have been freed up to simply play defense, slash to the hoop and generally wreak havoc in the open court? How he’s made useful players out of guys like Jared Jeffries and Steve Novak? How Jeffries has become a confident and (gulp) competent player on offense while still staying a force on defense and Novak can’t stop, won’t stop raining threes?
What about how the Knicks are fun again, for the first time since the 1970s? How, for the first time in my life, the Knicks are appointment television not because they’re a laughingstock, but because they’re one of the most entertaining teams in basketball? (Seriously, if you think the 90’s Knicks, the guys I grew up on and will love til the day I die, were fun and entertaining… well, I just don’t know what to do with that. Ewing, Starks, Mason, Oakley, Harper, Davis, Ward, Houston, Sprewell, Camby, LJ, Riley (ugh), Van Gundy?… those guys were crazy fun to root for, not so much to watch.)
Should I write about his crunch time heroics? How he stared down the Raptors and drilled a three right between the eyes? How he lined up Dirk Nowitzki and dropped one in his face? How he did the same to Shawn Marion? How he managed to upstage Kobe Bryant in Madison Square Garden? How he outplayed Deron Williams, John Wall and Devin Harris in less than a week? How he set a new record for most points scored in the first “X” starts of a career seemingly every night?
How do you write about the guy who undeniably OWNS New York City right now not being the Super Bowl MVP – Eli Manning – or the captain of the best team in hockey – Ryan Callahan – but the guy who was the Knicks’ 4th string point guard no less than three weeks ago?
I can’t find anything new to say about Jeremy Lin. Except this: for the first time in my life, as anyone who knows me well can attest, I’m speechless. I have nothing more to say.