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N.Y. Knicks' Jeremy Lin: Not just 'Lin-sanity,' but a true leader

hughesJed012812_optBY JED HUGHES
COMMENTARY

The emergence of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin onto the NBA scene is refreshing. In just a few weeks, he has gone from bench warmer on a sub-.500 team to a bona fide star who participated in NBA All-Star weekend and looks to lead his team to the playoffs.

In Howard Beck's excellent New York Times article on Fe. 26, "The Evolution of a Point Guard," he detailed how Lin is anything but an overnight sensation -- his "rise did not begin, as the world perceived it, with a 25-point explosion at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 4. It began with lonely 9 a.m. workouts in downtown Oakland in the fall of 2010; with shooting drills last summer on a backyard court in Burlingame, Calif.; and with muscle-building sessions at a Menlo Park fitness center."

What are the keys to Lin's leadership and his likeability?

1) Work ethic

2) Unselfishness

3) Morals

4) Humility

Work Ethic

Lin worked hard to fix his jump shot, add muscle and increase his durability and learned to read the court better. This happened through hours of hard work. The Harvard graduate made it a point to better himself to try to achieve his goals. In doing so, he has made his team -- which had a record of 8-15 and had lost 11 of 13 when coach Mike D'Antoni gave him a shot -- much better. That's what leaders do. Further, the average person can relate to him. He's 6 ft. 3 in, a height closer to the average person than it is to a 7 ft. NBA center. He wasn't born with freakish talent that enabled him to slide right into the pros from college. Lin has had to put in many hours of sweat equity to get to where he is. That is the American Dream personified.

Unselfishness

Lin frequently praises his coaches and teammates. Unlike many professional athletes, who make it about them. There is no shortage of "look at me" antics in the NBA and other leagues, and in every sport there are players who whine about getting help on a losing team or who demand to be traded to a winning team. Jeremy Lin has proven himself to be a team player.

Morals

So far, Lin has come off as squeaky clean. It would be surprising if he were to be found in the middle of a dust-up at a late night club. The role religion plays in his life has been well documented, and made him a grounded person. His reactions to derogatory comments and actions by opponents and others have been thoughtful and classy. He would be a role model even if he were not a star athlete.

Humility

By all accounts, Lin seems very coachable and responds well to critique. Without this quality, it is unlikely he would have been able to transform himself from role player to a starring role.

I find it equally impressive that he has remained remarkably grounded during all the so-called "Linsanity." (Confession: I tried to avoid using the term, but it was impossible.) While he is no longer sleeping on a couch at his brother's Lower East Side apartment, his new found fame did not compel to buy an overpriced condo on the Upper East Side. He is sub-leasing former Knick David Lee's apartment in Westchester.

Yes, Jeremy Lin's game still has flaws. Lin gives the ball up far too much and has been rattled when playing against tight, pressing defenses. But he also has demonstrated the willingness to confront his weaknesses and try to improve. Jeremy Lin has proven himself to be a winner in many ways.

A native of Newark, NJ, and a member of the Newark Academy Hall of Fame, Jed Hughes is Vice Chair of Korn/Ferry and the leader of the executive search firm's Global Sports Practice. Among his high profile placements are Mark Murphy, CEO of the Green Bay Packers; Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference; and Brady Hoke, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hughes coached for two decades in professional and intercollegiate football where he served under five Hall of Fame coaches: Bo Schembechler (Michigan), Chuck Noll (Pittsburgh Steelers), Bud Grant (Minnesota Vikings), John Ralston (Stanford) and Terry Donahue (UCLA). Follow him on Twitter @jedhughesKF.

ALSO BY JED HUGHES

For N.Y. Giants' Victor Cruz, a Super Bowl ring is not enough

Bill Parcells belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame

Signing Day 2012: Changes at Rutgers, Penn State challenge recruitment efforts

 
Comments (6)
6 Friday, 02 March 2012 23:15
Dat Phan
Melo was the one that asked the coach to give Lin a go
So should thank who
5 Wednesday, 29 February 2012 13:38
linfan
We shall all feel thrilled by the frenzy of Jeremy Lin, and his trademarks, Linsanity and Linspiration. He came from Silicon Valley and his parents originally came from Taiwan as engineers and Asian immigrants. His success is American's story and it is also an Asian immigrant's success story as well as immigrants' (CASPA) younger generation's story. He finally reaches his success and breaks the stereotypes of "Invisible Asian American", "Asian Academic Robots", "Yellow Peril", etc.

Jeremy Lin's mother, Shirly Wu, started a basketball team for her son where no team available for Jeremy Lin, wore the T-shirt to promote her son's shows, paid for all the fees (coaches, gyms, preparation, games, marketing), and now developed the Jeremy Lin Brand and Linsanity, Linspiration Brands. It is exactly the same way that CASPA has been doing for almost 2 decades. It is the best time to showcase Asian Americans' Pedigree Brand (hard-working engineering roots from Asia without much privilege or support but lots of obstacles, stereotypes, discrimination, and Glass-Ceiling rejections), Tigar Mom Parenting Brand, Harvard Ivy League Academic Excellence Brand, and Now Linsanity and Linspiration (Breaking Career Stereotype Brand), etc. We all need to learn from Tigar Mom, Harvard Ivy League's Branding strategies, and now Linsanity and Linspiration Brands; that is, Silicon Valley's native Asian American Success Brand, Jeremy Lin and his mom, Shirley Wu.

Jeremy Lin's success is not just a great show in basketball court temporarily but a shining moment due to perspiration, perseverance, and pure character shaped through his and his family's long-term hard work, sacrifice, and tolerance of rejections and humiliations of all sorts on the stage of the real life. This is the fundamental American success story in the land of diverse immigrants. Jeremy Lin is a certified genuine gem which has passed through the testing grounds of true American values and ethics.

It is time for CASPA to shine and show off the Brand. Please read the articles that I wrote in 1999 which just posted on Publication Section in www.caspa-portland.org. I actually completely forgot about this article's existence until our old website was shot down by the hosting company. That was a great article.
4 Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:38
lin lin lin
Truly a great leader! HAPPY LIN DAY! http://www.lincredibly.com/forget-leap-year-its-lin-year-february-29-2012-is-lin-day-2012-is-a-lin-year/
3 Wednesday, 29 February 2012 11:42
bosux suctic
maybe anthony should be sent down to the d league, or waive him him and suck it up to an expensive lesson. Knicks have a better chance of winning without him.
2 Wednesday, 29 February 2012 11:05
Knicks Fan
As great as Jeremy Lin and his team mates are, they may not be able to overcome the selfishness of Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks were 8-1 without Carmelo. It appears they won't be going on another 8-1 run with him on the team.
1 Wednesday, 29 February 2012 10:55
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