Jeremy Lin’s summer of 2012, one which should have been a validation of his journey and landed him a contract deserving of one of the NBA’s most recognizable stars, became one of the sports world’s most visible debacles, a seemingly interminable tale of manipulation, betrayal and lots of other things that Shakespeare wrote about. For Lin, the insults came from everywhere, be that the New York Knicks organization that allowed him to be courted by any team rather than locking up its star point guard at the beginning of the summer, the owner of that team that personally (and publicly) passed on both Lin the contract and the person, or the myriad sportswriters convinced that the Rockets had been a little too geeked up in their pursuit of this supposed fly-by-night sensation.
But at least he wasn’t insulted by the leader of the free world this summer. No, that happened last winter (via Jodi Kantor of The New York Times):
No matter what moves Mr. Romney made, the president said, he and his team were going to cut him off and block him at every turn. “We’re the Miami Heat, and he’s Jeremy Lin,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide.
Ouch. Perhaps for politicians or major world figures, a censure from the President of the United States can be brushed aside as nothing more than political rhetoric for the sake of rhetoric. But when Barack Obama’s taking potshots at you, 24-year-old athlete and fellow alumnus of said commander-in-chief’s alma mater… well, I’m guess that it meant a little more than anything that Chris Broussard or I might have to say.
In fairness to the president, the conversation being quoted occurred in February; Obama, ever the basketball junkie, had likely seen the Heat’s nationally-televised ending to Linsanity in which Lin, admittedly, was shut down in every possible way, posting a line of eight points, three assists and eight turnovers on 1-11 shooting. You know, the kind of game that you hope the president of the country you call home isn’t watching.
Still, Rockets fans can’t help but see some silver lining here; I mean, people talk about players hooping with chips on their shoulders after messy breakups with former squads, but to be dismissed by President Obama so roundly? One has to think Lin will eventually come around to the thought of the president eating his words at some point in this upcoming season while Obama watches a Rockets game in the White House. Or in Chicago as a private citizen, since most national polls still have the president polling at a statistical tie with Mitt Romney. Topicality!