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Jeremy Lin opens up to J. J. Redick about basketball, life and Kenny Atkinson

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Brooklyn Nets

On Wednesday,  in between the press conference and Open House, Jeremy Lin talked by phone with J.J. Redick, who in addition to playing shooting guard for the Clippers is an interviewer (and quite the good one) at Adrian Wojnarowski's "The Vertical."

Lin talked about a lot of things, everything from his faith to his hair, but for Nets fans, the big takeaway has to be how much of a big deal Kenny Atkinson is in his professional life.  Lin made it clear, No Kenny, No Nets...

"If there had been no Kenny there, I would not have come even close to considering joining [the Nets]  That relationship is one of my more special relationships that I have developed. I don't know, there's something about going through the trenches together.  Something about when I wasn't playing and when he wasn't even sitting [on the front bench.]  So we were really in tough positions in our career. And we just kept at it

"And then, I heard the vision that Sean Marks had and I felt like, for me, I wanted to see what I could do as a starter and what I could do with a bigger roles and they were giving me that opportunity. So it felt like it was a good choice for me."

Lin also talked about the role of New York, saying it wasn't the market so much as it was the city ... and how Brooklyn is not Manhattan...

"It's more if I like the city and I like New York. But I'm going to be out in Brooklyn more, where it's a lot more chill.  I'm not sure I'm like a total city guy, like a Manhattan guy, a busy, busy city type guy."

Asked about when he knew he had a chance at the NBA, Lin said it started his second year at Harvard...

"My assistant coach pulled me aside my sophomore year and I was only averageing 11 points a game in the Ivy League and told me, 'hey you can make it.' I was like, 'Dude, you're out of your mind.' By my senior year, after my game against UConn -- I had a good game against UConn, a good game against BC -- There was some top level prospects and I thought 'maybe I do have a chance.'"

"Then after the draft, I didn't get drafted, I thought I was going to get drafted, maybe a 50 percent chance I would get drafted.

Lin spoke as well about the downside of LinSanity, how it changed him ... and not necessarily for the better....

"I had to take a few years to process it. When it first happens,  It starts off being so awesome,   You're happy. It's exhilarating. It's exciting and then all of a sudden, it happens so fast, you get scared.  I got scared. Started not to trust people and that turned into ... I got jaded.  At that point, I was thinking, 'man, this whole thing is a burden. you're jaded with people, jaded at the whole world. You don't understand why people are they way they are. and you don't trust people.  And that turns into pity.  Once you get over that, you slowly start to appreciate it.

Four years later, he said, he has a new appreciation for the experience...

"Now I’m growing into the last part of embracing it and that’s when it becomes you. And now it’s a badge of honor. I absolutely love the voice for the fans I have, that this platform is here. Now I love it and think so much more long term and big picture, how can I change or impact the world, how can I challenge viewpoints, how can I challenge stereotypes, and I love every part of it. When I go over to Asia every year, they shower me with so much love. It’s something I’ll always cherish."

Lin and Redick agreed as well on the importance of the mental aspects of the game, with Lin saying....

"It might be more important that the physical side to be honest. At some point, talent can only get you so far. We’ve seen so many players who have an unbelievable IQ. The mental approach to me, I try to worry about that more than the physical stuff. If I’m not playing with the right mindset, it’s over for me from the beginning. If I’m not aggressive or don’t believe in my shot or don’t believe I belong, I have no shot."

On a lighter moment, Lin spoke about the history of his hair and why the braids last week. Bottom line: expect more hair...

"A year ago, I was with my family on a journey and I grew out the man bun. A friend of mine from high school sent me this thing will all these different corn rows.  So I have saved these pictures and said, 'one day I'm going to do it.'

But i don't really know any braiders where I am in California so when I got to Brooklyn and i thought for sure, there has to be good braiders there. So, the team set me up with one and this lady did it on Monday. I said, 'hey I like it. I'm going to keep it for the press conference.'"

This year is going to be a lot more braids, a lot more refined stuff. now that my hair is longer and I can do the stuff I wanted to do with it.

One other thing to file away about the interview was this... Redick's love of New York, where he is renovating a loft ... in Brooklyn. Listen to him...

I'm such a lover of New York City. It's such a fantastic place. Anytime you're in the city, there's just a palpable buzz and there's an energy that you feed off."

See ya, J.J.

There's a lot more in the near 40-minute interview.  Worth a listen.