The Jeremy Lin saga is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of the New York Knicks and eight years later we are still left trying to figure out exactly how it happened.
Baron Davis, a teammate of Jeremy Lin’s, was recently asked about that 2011-12 season and 13 games in February when Lin was on top of the basketball world, but Davis said that even they never saw the Linsanity craziness coming.
“Hell, no,” Davis said on the “Endless Hustle” podcast. “Are you f—king kidding me? That s—t just happened, you know?”
“That’s the beauty of basketball,” Davis continued. “It wasn’t like he was killing it in practice. It was like, ‘yo man, he the last man on the roster, we’re not playing well, let’s give him a shot.’ That’s what it was. You talk about somebody who turned an opportunity into a lifetime of value… he was a good player. At the right situation at the right time, he could be effective. That’s with any player.”
It is amazing to think that Lin only played in 30 career games with the Knicks, but those 13 games in February the Knicks went 10-3 and pulled themselves back into the playoff race while Carmelo Anthony was recovering from an injury.
Yet, things were not as smooth when Anthony returned, and many fans blame the All-Star for Lin’s decline in play before he got injured and eventual departure from the team after one season.
Davis refuted that claim and painted a much different picture about what went on.
“Nobody had time to be salty, it was something good that happened,” Davis said. “Melo was trying to help Jeremy Lin. That’s what people don’t realize. Melo was trying to help Lin, trying to hell him ‘yo bro you got a moment, this how you should do this.’ Like Melo is a f--king brand. Melo is Melo, he ain't got no -- what are you hating on Jeremy Lin for?”
Davis said everyone knew Linsanity wasn’t going to last forever and that they would need to figure out how they would respond when it finally came to an end. If anything, Davis said that Anthony’s return took pressure off Lin.
“The only thing that was crazy about it was Jeremy Lin was now the man of this team for this moment, because it fits [Mike] D’Antoni’s offense,” Davis said. “Ok, this s--t is working, it’s working without Melo, but how long is this s--t gonna last? Every day we won …we was like hallelujah. At some point it was gonna balance out and when Melo came out it helped take pressure off Jeremy Lin.
“[Because] the first two weeks ain’t nobody know [Lin]. The next two weeks, ok everybody, we know who you are. You embarrassed me the first time, we won’t let this s--t happen again and things start balancing out and then Jeremy Lin got hurt.”
The Knicks, of course, did make the playoffs that season and were ousted in the first round by the LeBron James-led Miami Heat. Lin’s injury kept him off the postseason roster and he would sign with the Houston Rockets in the offseason.