In the past week, New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin ’10 has climbed from the brink of unemployment to international stardom—generating a new wave of enthusiasm for the former Crimson star on campus.
“It’s surreal,” William E. Eger ’12 said. “It’s fun to see him tear it up in the [National Basketball Association]. You would never have expected that.”
On Friday, the former economics concentrator tallied 38 points in a win against Los Angeles Lakers. Starting for only the third time in his professional career, Lin outscored Laker Kobe Bryant, a 14-time league all-star.
Eger and a half dozen friends gathered Friday in his Winthrop dorm room to cheer on the Harvard alum.
“To me it’s unbelievable to see anyone, any sort of Harvard athlete excel at the same level as he’s succeeded,” Eger said. “He’s the most successful Harvard athlete of all time—one of the most successful, at least.”
Lin’s streak started in a Feb. 4 matchup with the New Jersey Nets, during which Lin tallied 25 points after coming off the bench. Lin’s surprising performance inspired the New York Daily News to headline its game recap with “It’s LinSanity!” and earned the Harvard graduate a starting spot in a game against the Jazz two nights later.
Several students said they watched the Knicks game as if they were cheering on the Crimson.
“[Watching the Knicks game] was like watching a Harvard game,” said Ian Chang ’14, who had watched Lin on occasion in the past year but has followed the Harvard alum much more closely in the past week. “You are still cheering because of the Harvard connection.”
Lin is only the third Harvard athlete to make it to the National Basketball Association, and the first in over fifty years. In only his second season, he has tied the record for most games played by a Harvard alum at 43.
“I think it kind of puts Harvard sports on the map in a way that we haven’t been able to do previously,” Jeremy D. Mudd ’12 said. “It gives us a degree of credibility in the sports world that we might not have had before.”
When Lin entered the NBA after graduating in 2010, experts did not expect Lin to succeed in the professional arena. Lin went undrafted and was then cut twice before joining the Knicks. During his senior year, Lin, team co-captain and starting guard, led the Crimson to its best record in the program’s history.
“I’ve been incredibly surprised,” Mudd said. “We all knew he was a great player in college, but it’s one thing to be a great player in the Ivy League, and another thing entirely to be scoring 38 points against the Lakers.”
—Staff writer Jacob D. H. Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.