Jeremy Shu-How Lin (Chinese: 林書豪; born August 23, 1988) grew up in Palo Alto, California. His parents, Gie-Ming and Shirley, emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the mid-1970s. His paternal family comes from Beidou, Changhua in Taiwan; while his maternal grandmother is from Pinghu, Zhejiang in today’s China. Gie-Ming taught Jeremy and his brothers, Josh and Joseph, to play basketball at the local YMCA. Josh is currently a NYU dental student and Joseph is a sophomore at Hamilton University playing on their basketball team.
High school career
In his senior year in 2005–2006, Lin captained Palo Alto High School to a 32–1 record and upset nationally ranked Mater Dei, 51–47, for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II state title. He was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year ending his senior year with averages of 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals.
Lin sent his resume and a DVD of highlights to all the Ivy League schools, Cal, Stanford, and his dream school, UCLA. The Pac-10 schools wanted him to walk-on, while Harvard and Brown were the only teams that guaranteed him a spot on their basketball teams. Lin chose to attend Harvard despite Ivy League schools not offering athletic scholarships.
In his sophomore season (2007–08), Lin averaged 12.6 points and was named All-Ivy League Second Team.
By his junior year (2008–09), Lin was the only NCAA Division I men’s basketball player who ranked in the top ten in his conference for scoring (17.8), rebounding (5.5), assists (4.3), steals (2.4), blocked shots (0.6), field goal percentage (0.502), free throw percentage (0.744), and 3 point shot percentage (0.400), and was a unanimous selection for All-Ivy League First Team. He had 27 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in an 82–70 win over 17th-ranked Boston College, three days after the Eagles had knocked off 1st ranked North Carolina.
In his senior year (2009–10), Lin averaged 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.4 steals and 1.1 blocks, and was again a unanimous selection for All-Ivy League First Team. He was one of 30 midseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award and one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award. He was also one of 64 college seniors invited to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. He gained national attention for his performance against the 12th ranked Connecticut Huskies, against whom he scored a career-high tying 30 points and grabbed 9 rebounds on the road. Harvard set numerous program records for the season including wins (21), non-conference wins (11), home wins (11) and road/neutral wins (10).
Lin finished his career as the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225).
He graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics and a 3.1 grade-point average.
Eight teams had invited Lin to pre-draft workouts, but Lin went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft. No Ivy Leaguer has been selected in the NBA draft since Jerome Allen of Pennsylvania in the second round of 1995. He later joined the Dallas Mavericks for mini-camp as well as their NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas. In five Summer League games, while playing both guard positions, Lin averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 steals in 18.6 minutes per game and shot a team leading 54.5% from the floor. Lin turned heads in his matchup against first overall pick John Wall when Lin scored 13 points to Wall’s 21, but did so on 6-for-12 shooting in 28 minutes while Wall was 4-for-19 in 33 minutes. After the Summer League, Lin received offers to sign from the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and an unnamed Eastern Conference team, but on July 21, 2010, signed a two-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, his hometown and favorite team growing up. Lin also signed a three-year guaranteed contract with Nike.
Golden State Warriors
Lin made his NBA debut on October 29, 2010 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Lin received a standing ovation from the crowd of 17,408 when he entered the game with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. He did not score in the 109–91 win but recorded one steal after tying up the ball and winning the subsequent jump ball.
In the next game on November 1, 2010 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Lin scored his first NBA basket, had 3 assists, and recorded 4 steals. He was applauded by the road crowd at the Staples Center when he entered the game in the third quarter. He played 11 of his 16 minutes in the third quarter and committed five fouls but played a role in a 12-1 run by the Warriors.
Three times during the season, Lin was assigned to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns. Each time, he was later recalled by the Warriors. He competed in the NBA D-League Showcase and was named to the All-NBA D-League Showcase First Team on January 14, 2011. He helped lead the Bighorns to a 2-0 record at the Showcase with averages of 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals. Lin posted a season-high 27 points with the Bighorns on March 18. He averaged 18 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists during his time with the Bighorns.
He finished his rookie NBA season averaging 2.6 points on 38.9 percent shooting in 29 games. Lin also finished with the second highest steals per 48 minutes statistic in the NBA of 5.57.
A few days before the lockout was lifted on November 26, Lin had been close to signing with Italian club, Teramo Basket, but was passed in favor of Charles Jenkins. On December 9, 2011, the Warriors waived Lin on the first day of training camp after the 2011 NBA lockout. On December 12, 2011, Lin was claimed off waivers by the Houston Rockets, but was waived before the late season started on December 24, 2011. The New York Knicks claimed Lin off waivers on December 27, 2011.
New York Knicks
Lin made his season debut on December 29, 2011 against his former team, the Golden State Warriors. On January 17, 2012, Lin and teammate Jerome Jordan were assigned to the Erie BayHawks of the D-League where he had a triple-double game with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 assists in the BayHawks’ 122–113 victory over the Maine Red Claws. Lin was recalled by the Knicks three days later.
Lin had a career night on February 4, 2012, when he scored 25 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists in a 99-92 victory over the New Jersey Nets. The statistics for points, rebounds, and assists were all career highs for Lin. The subsequent game against the Utah Jazz, Lin would have his first NBA start at point guard for the Knicks and would lead the team to a 99-88 victory, despite early loss of Carmelo Anthony and absence of Amar’e Stoudemire. Lin played for 45 minutes, scored 28 points, and dished out 8 assists, all team highs for the game and career highs for Lin. In his 3rd career start, Lin would set a career record of 38 points against the LA Lakers as well as an NBA record of most points in the first 3 starts of a player since the NBA-ABA merger of ’76. Lin would continue to hold that record into his fourth start, where he scored 20 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his 12 starts before the All-Star break, Lin averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists, and New York had a 9–3 record. He was added late to the roster of the Rising Stars Challenge (Rookie vs. Sophomore Game) during NBA All-Star Weekend due to his sudden rise to fame. The Knicks in March replaced D’Antoni with Mike Woodson, who ran fewer pick-and rolls and more isolation plays. Lin had excelled running pick-and-rolls under D’Antoni. After the March 24 game against the Detroit Pistons he complained about a sore knee, and an MRI later revealed a small meniscus tear in the left knee. Lin opted to have knee surgery and missed the remainder of the regular season. The Knicks encouraged Lin to seek other offers, but he and the press expected that the team would resign him given its need for a young guard, his good play, and worldwide popularity; ESPN reported that the Knicks would match any other offer “up to $1 billion”. The Rockets offered a $28.8 million contract over four years with the fourth year of that deal being at the team’s option, which put the true commitment at $19.5 million. Woodson said the Knicks would match Houston’s offer and that Lin would be his starting point guard. The Rockets offered a revised three-year, $25 million deal which the Knicks did not match; Lin deduced the team’s decision when he learned that the Knicks signed Raymond Felton instead. The first two years of his contract pay $5 million and $5.225 million, respectively, followed by $14.8 million in the third year. The higher salary in the final year, known as a “poison pill”, was intended to discourage New York from matching the offer. Including luxury tax, the Knicks’ cost for Lin in 2014–15 was estimated at $43 million. The Knicks’ failure to match the offer nonetheless greatly surprised observers, given the team’s history of high payrolls; Lin would only have been the fourth highest-paid Knick.
Lin would be a cornerstone piece in a rebuilding Rockets team that acquired Lin, Omer Asik, and James Harden into its starting lineup over the offseason. The Rockets would be the youngest, least experienced, and lowest paid team in the NBA, but would start the season at 11-11. Lin would have his first stellar game reminiscent of his Linsanity days against the league leading San Antonio Spurs when James Harden was out with an injury, where he had 38 points, 7 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks (and only 2 turnovers) to force overtime against a more experienced and favored team.