In an interview with ESPN’s Zach Lowe at MIT’s Sloan School conference Saturday, Jeremy Lin talked about his career, injury and the upcoming competition among Brooklyn’s guards next fall. But buried in the interview, Lin talked about what drives him no matter what the situation... his competitiveness.
“There’s something about me that it’s the best or its nothing at all... For me, if i’m not competing against the best, it’s just a lot less enticing. I just want to compete against the best.”
In talking about the Nets, Lin said he’s aware that there is, at least for now, a logjam in the Nets backcourt with him, D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Allen Crabbe, etc. Lin, who turns 30 in August, is between four and eight years older than any of them.
But he assured Lowe that he’s not worried about how it will work out, mainly because of his confidence in himself and the character of the players on the Nets.
“I think I’m much more comfortable with myself, where I’m at and with my skill set. I know what I can bring to the team. Watching us right now, it’s just hard, we’re 19-41 at this point and I feel bad, I want to help my team, man,” Lin told Lowe.
“I’m not so much focused on how it will sort itself out. I think it will naturally sort itself out. These aren’t bad guys like we totally and legitimately root for each other. “
And he noted another aspect to the competition. “I’ll just be so happy to play, hopefully bring some more wins.”
As for his injury, Lin disclosed that his surgery to repair his ruptured patella tendon had an additional benefit.
“They say I’ll even be better because before, I was dealing with knee pain, but now that they’ve gone in and cleaned everything up, I’ll feel even better than before and there’s no residual anything,” he said in an apparent reference to the Nets medical staff.
He also told Lowe that he feels lucky in one regard. “If you’re going to choose one of the big-time injures, this is a great one to have,” he said with a laugh.
Much of the interview was taken up by Lin’s recollections of Linsanity and the Knicks’ reluctance to sign him before the Rockets came in and signed him to an offer sheet that the Knicks then declined to match.
Lin left little doubt that he was confused and disheartened by the Knicks’ lack of interest, adding that no one has ever explained to him. Asked by Lowe if he and Carmelo Anthony had ever spoken about it. Melo dissed the Rockets’ offer to Lin and may not have wanted to share the ball —and the spotlight— with Lin.
“I really don’t know what happened. You know I hear but I know as much as what you know or anybody else knows, maybe you know more actually,” Lin told Lowe. “I know as much as the average person. because no one really ever told me what happened.
“To this day, I don’t know exactly what happened, who said what, what people were thinking. I don’t know what rubbed people the wrong way or who, why I wasn’t really sought after as a restricted free agent. My faith allows me to understand that everything happens for a reason.
‘I haven’t had a heart-to-heart, hash-it-out conversation with him,” Lin said of Anthony. “But I would not be opposed if that ever came to be.”
Lin also spoke about how much of what has been written and said about his relationship with Kobe Bryant was exaggerated, that they have a good relationship (although Wayne Ellington, who was their teammate in L.A. said this week it could be brutal.)
He noted that he still gets questions about why he “left” the Knicks, which he tries to dismiss, noting, “I cant wait for next season. I’m back in New York. It’ll be fun.”