“It was Asian Heritage Night at Oracle Arena and the crowd of 17,408 rose in a standing ovation when reserve Jeremy Lin checked into the game with 2:32 remaining in the fourth quarter,” ESPN wrote in their report on the Golden State Warriors taking on the Los Angeles Clippers on October 29, 2010. “ Lin, who grew up in the Bay Area, didn’t score but hustled for a loose ball that brought the crowd to its feet again.” NBA.com told a similar story: “Undrafted rookie and Bay Area local Jeremy Lin, already a fan favourite at Oracle Arena, drew a huge ovation just for checking in with 2:32 remaining. He was credited with a steal after tying up Cook and watching the Warriors win the ensuing jump ball.” That was Lin’s NBA debut, a game which the Warriors won 109-91, and one where his cult status was already cemented despite being an undrafted rookie. “Halfway through the fourth quarter, the crowd began chanting, ‘We want Lin!’” ESPN recalled of his first game in a 2011 article. “He entered the game with just under three minutes to go, and the arena sounded like a home crowd cheering their All-Star during a play-off game.” It had been the same in preseason when he was cheered just for warming up. Jeremy Lin putting faith in his NBA dream “He gets a second quarter of driving the lane and dishing to no one and the crowd groaning, and a second quarter of loud cheers for swishing free throws that got the Warriors within 38-33 of the Trail Blazers, and a fourth quarter of crowd noise rising in anticipation when he gets the ball for out on the perimeter in garbage time,” NBA.com wrote of his preseason appearance against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 23. Lin is aiming to play in the NBA once more, returning to the league a year after he left for China to play with the Beijing Ducks having been offered no contracts as a free agent. An NBA return would be a fitting denouement to his career, which began in that 2010 draft where some teams passed on him twice. John Wall went as first pick in that draft, while the Golden State Warriors picked Ekpe Udoh, who would become Lin’s teammate in Beijing with the Ducks many years later. The Warriors picked Lin up after a Las Vegas Summer League game where he dominated Wall in the fourth quarter. “Most spectators had never heard of Lin, who finished the game with 13 points and four rebounds and stifled Wall defensively,” ESPN wrote. “But soon the national media and internet were buzzing about him.” The Taiwanese-American Harvard graduate made people sit up and take notice that summer and his arrival at his hometown team – Lin grew up in Palo Alto and had Warriors posters up in his childhood bedroom – was met with media interest. Lin describes panic attacks over Beijing Ducks failure as anxiety crippled start A press conference was called on the day he signed. “It was surprising to see that we had almost a full-blown media day, with a bunch of national media here, for an undrafted rookie,” Warriors coach Keith Smart said. “Obviously, playing in the NBA would have been a dream come true, but this is really a dream come true,” Lin said. “This is the team I grew up cheering for and this is the one team I really, really wanted to play for.” Before picking up a ball Lin was already a poster boy for the Bay Area’s huge Asian-American community, with national media coming to the Oracle Centre. Lin was only the fourth Asian-American to make the NBA and the first of Chinese or Taiwanese heritage – his parents are from Taiwan. The pressure was intense from the off. It had even got to the coach: “We’ve got to take the heat off. There was a game here at home, I put him in the game too soon because I kind of gave into the crowd. I said I’ll never do that again,” Smart told NBA.com of one preseason game. It could have been more so if Lin had played in the Warriors’ season opener against the Houston Rockets. As it was he was benched until game two against the Clippers and Chinese star Yao Ming sat the game out injured. Lin: ‘from most popular person on the planet to ashamed to go out’ Still, media interest was a distraction. “I don’t let it affect the way I approach the game, keeping my focus without worrying about how many interviews I do a day,” Lin told sanfranciscogate.com after the Rockets game. “Obviously, I would love to suit up and try to help the team, but part of being on this team is putting your ego aside.” The media scrutiny meant that Lin was written off by some as a publicity stunt – a charge that was probably not helped by Lin making his debut on Asian Heritage Night, which ended with a Q&A session in front of the 17,000 crowd. “It was extremely taxing for him,” his agent Roger Montgomery told The New York Times in 2012, adding, “He wanted to please a lot of people.” At one point Montgomery and the Warriors PR machine even put a block on interviews to give Lin space. “One of the most popular rookies this season has been Golden State’s Jeremy Lin. The Palo Alto native played only three minutes all season, but played logged 16 minutes, including 11 minutes in the third quarter,” wrote NBA.com of the Warriors’ and Lin’s next game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. “Lin’s first shot of his NBA career was a 12-foot air ball, but he followed it up with a steal on a Bryant pass. Lin scored his first basket as an NBA player, a lay-up, and recorded four steals. He did, however, pick up five fouls. His best play was diving on the floor for a loose ball and feeding it to Brandan Wright for a 3-point play.” Jeremy Lin chases NBA second chance but teams should be chasing him ESPN captured the zeitgeist in their report: “In Curry’s absence, Warriors rookie Jeremy Lin got into the game in the third quarter, prompting a round of applause from the Los Angeles crowd for the Harvard guard who’s already a celebrity among his native Bay Area’s sizeable Asian population. Lin then scored his first NBA points on a lay-up midway through the third quarter. “Lin committed five fouls in his first 11 minutes, but also played a role in Golden State’s 12-1 run in the third. Lin summed it up, telling NBA.com: “The support that they’ve given me has been off the charts. I appreciate that. But then at the same time, it’s like everything I do is going to be under a microscope. “It comes with the territory. I’m very thankful for it. I want to be in that position to be a role model and try to be a role model to the young Asian-Americans growing up and whatnot.” The cheers were loudest at the “Roaracle”, as the Warriors’ home was known. “When he first came into games, it was a roar,” Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said in 2011. “People love him.” New York, LA or the Bay – where could Jeremy Lin make NBA return? That pressure appeared to be getting to Lin. On November 3, 2010 – a handful of games into his debut season – San Francisco Gate columnist Rusty Simmons wrote a column headlined “Stop cheering for Jeremy Lin”, pointing out the pressure on the rookie point guard. “When I’m on the road, I don’t feel like the spotlight is on me,” Lin said, but the spotlight never really went away. He lived up to the media interest in New York with the Knicks two years later when “Linsanity” was born, proving a few people wrong. “We should have kept @JLin7,” Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted during Lin’s 2012 run. “Did not know he was this good. Anyone who says they knew misleading U.” It was a time Lin has described where he was the most popular person in the world. ‘I’m not chasing the shadow of Linsanity,’ says Lin on NBA hopes What followed – the teams, the injuries, the championship, China – is history, but Lin is ready to write a new chapter. There will be likely be a few reporters wherever he turns up.