Taking Advantage of Your Opportunity: Learning From the Jeremy Lin Sensation.
This past week Linsanity has swept the NBA. Jermey Lin has injected life into a very dead NBA season. He has single handedly resurrected the New York Knicks who have had multiple issues this season. Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, who have both struggled getting chemistry going this season, have been absent for this winning frenzy in New York. Amare has been out due to his brother's sudden and tragic death and Carmelo has been out with an injury. In the absence of these two All-Stars a superstar has emerged and possibly changed the landscape of the New York Knicks future. Whether Jeremy Lin can live up to this new found hype and expectation is yet to be seen and I am not here to be a Skip Baylass like prognosticator or instigator. I want to examine the more important story of how and why Jeremy Lin is playing for the New York Knicks and dropping 38 points on the Lakers in his first week starting in the NBA.
A little over a week ago, Jeremy Lin was on the verge of being cut from the team. How is it possible that a guy that can perform this well in this short timeframe can be so overlooked by coaches and management that he was about to be cut? The fact is Jeremy Lin has been overlooked his whole life. He was never recruited by big division I schools. His potential was largely regarded as a division III type player because of his height, weight and athleticism. But the Harvard coaching staff was very happy to get him especially after watching him play AAU ball against some of the best players in the nation. Lin never showed flashes of athletic dominance nor was he a pure shooter. But when pitted against the nations best, he held his own and got the best of them. So he took his meager dimensions and athletic talent to Harvard, the place that wanted him the most. And they were thrilled to have him. He was never a big name but played well enough at Harvard to earn a look from the NBA. During this short time he has been kicked around from Golden State to Houston and now to the Knicks who were ready to release him as well.
So the real story here is how did this happen and what lessons can every player learn from the Jeremy Lin phenomenon? Did he all of the sudden develop outstanding athleticism since last week? How has he managed to play so well when he was so underwhelming and undervalued prior to last week? There are many external factors that may have caused Lin to be overlooked but as far as his performance since getting his opportunity, I think the following 5 core values are the driving force behind Jeremy Lin's success.
Attitude: You have to have the right attitude, whether you are the starting PG or sitting at the end of the bench. Your attitude always has to be about the team and what your personal role is to make that team better. You must have the attitude that you are going to help that team in whatever way the coach asks of you. Your role can always change and you can always move your way up that bench. I have never seen a kid with the wrong attitude move his way up a bench, but I have seen plenty of kids move there way down a bench with the wrong attitude. If you don't have the right attitude than the rest of these virtues will mean nothing.
Perseverance: Perseverance is a close cousin to attitude, but it is just as important in the big picture. You will always need the correct attitude to persevere in any situation but perseverance is a combination of many tools that will get you to your goal. Patience is very important because your goals will not be reached overnight. You must continue to work hard even when your goals seem out of reach. You continue to work in spite of difficulties, obstacles and discouragement.
Confidence: Always remain confident in your own abilities even when others do not see your potential. Confidence is not something that you can just imagine. Confidence comes after you have worked hard enough on your skills to KNOW you can perform. There is a big difference between knowing you have the skill and thinking you have the skills. Confidence comes from many hours of hard work perfecting your craft.
Work Ethic: You must set yourself up for success with your hard work. You have to put in the hours to make yourself better. It's not always about just putting in the hours, you have to put in quality hours. Anyone can go to the gym and shoot around for 2 hours and think they are making themselves better. You have to learn the right way to do things, you have to study the game and get yourself on the right programs to really make those hours count. Learn from the best players, find out what they are doing to make themselves better and copy them...or better yet, take their drills and training a step further.
Always be Prepared: I can not stress this enough. Be prepared for your opportunity. If you are sitting on the end of the bench, don't just be a spectator. Act as if you are going in the game at the next whistle. What is that player doing that you might be guarding. How do you need to play them? What cut would you be making right now if you were in the game? Where are you going to get your shot? You must be ready to play at all times in order to seize your opportunity. If you are a spectator on the bench you will be overwhelmed when your number is called. You must be prepared for the chance you get, because you may not get another one.
I don't care if Jeremy Lin doesn't score another point or dish another assist in the NBA. No matter what his future holds in the NBA he has made the most of his opportunity through these virtues. I don't expect everyone to come off the bench and score 20 pts and dish out 6 assist in their first 4 starts...But You Should Be Prepared To!
Check out the great Links below to help improve your game or just watch some Jeremy Lin highlights.