Jeremy Lin, 26, the Asian-American basketball player who initially became famous thanks to the 2012 phenomenon known as "Linsanity" while playing for the New York Knicks, is now playing a supporting role alongside Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers this season and could be the next rising star on that team.
However, Lin's meteoric rise to fame has been full of challenges and sudden changes. Although he played for two years in the Houston Rockets alongside James Harden, he lost both his starting job to Patrick Beverly and his number to Carmelo Anthony, according to an article posed on the Sports Illustrated website. Also, Lin only found out that he would be a starting point guard for the Lakers through media reports, despite being publicly endorsed by basketball legend Magic Johnson.
"[Being named starter] is more like a game-to-game thing than a permanent thing," Lin said to Sports Illustrated. "I know how fast things can change. ... If [coming off the bench] is what the team needs, I've shown I'll make sacrifices."
The good news for Lin came as Laker teammates Steve Nash and Ronnie Price both came down with sports-related injuries; a back injury forced Nash to sit out the entire season. Sports Illustrated reported that Lakers Coach Byron Scott only told reporters about his decision to put Lin on the roster first before telling the rest of the Lakers team.
"He has to learn to play with the ball and without the ball," Scott said to the Los Angeles Times in regards to Lin's performance in an Oct. 29 game versus the Phoenix Suns. "He's just playing with a lot of indecision right now on his behalf. He just has to get a little more comfortable with what we're doing."
Lin has cited his struggles and disappointments during his time in Houston as a prime motivator in his gameplay, according to Sports Illustrated. While his demeanor may take a humble yet cautious tone, he still has the desire to make his influence known in his new team.
"Starting has always been a goal for any team that I've been on," Lin said. "Part of me is like, Wow, Magic knows who I am. The fact that he thinks what he thinks, I'm blown away by it."
His performance on the basketball court this season has been noted by members of the Lakers team. Some of them, according to a Travelers Today report, think that Lin's presence and star power could potentially compete with franchise player Kobe Bryant.
"Kobe's got some competition now," Lakers center Robert Sacre said.
Even Bryant thinks that Lin has the potential to become an excellent player at the Lakers.
"I'll go out there and I'll leave on the floor everything, and compete and not be fearful of criticism or fearful of not playing well or missing shots," Bryant said. "That's the same way I want the guys to play, Jeremy in particular, because he's a really good player. He's just getting used to playing with that kind of effort and attitude."
For now, however, Lin is looking on the bright side of being traded to the Lakers and is counting his blessings. He sees it as a great opportunity.
"I'm in a better place now," Lin said. "There's more opportunity for me here. No knock against anybody in Houston. The reality of the situation here is there's a lot more room for me to be aggressive."