Words by Coral Davids, iLAEA Intern
Image by Mike Yorkey
Jeremy Lin, an urban inspired sportsman and point guard for the Houston Rockets, had been dubbed by the press as “Linsanity” for his seven consecutive wins in 2012 along with his staggering stat scores. After graduating from Harvard, Jeremy Lin was the first Asian- American to enter in the NBA. Lin was first drafted by the New York Knicks. Not soon after being placed in the D League he was swooped up by the Houston Rockets. After being chosen by the Houston Rockets he had seven consecutive wins and was then signed by the Rockets for a $25M contract.
That’s when it happened. Linsanity! Almost overnight, millions of fans began tuning out to his games and he became a news sensation. He could be seen on billboards and was being courted for high-end endorsements. You name it, he was on it.
And just as quickly as he rose to notoriety, was almost as quickly as his career took a downwards spiral. Lin went from being the front man to warming the bench, barely getting any playing time. The coaches and fans alike began to lose confidence in him, calling him “over-rated,” “over-paid,” and basically questioning his skills and his right to be on the court. Lin felt as if he had the world on his shoulders, he was filled with anxiety and wouldn’t eat. He wanted to live up to his nickname Linsanity; he wanted to prove the critics wrong, he wanted to play, he wanted to win.
In a moment of retrospect before one of his games, Lin thought to himself, who am I living for, whose voice am I following? He realized then that he had to start living up to God’s expectation and his role as a child of God rather than living up to the nickname–Linsanity. Lin knew he had to re-prioritize his life, he stated, “I told myself I’m no longer going to listen to everyone’s voice, in fact I’m not even going to listen to my own voice, I have to get back to listening to God’s voice.”
He began to follow God’s voice directing all his attention on the main source of his inspiration rather than on basketball. Lin said rather than focusing on what others wanted him to be, he tuned everybody out, the haters and the critics. Instead, he focused on what God wanted him to be, placing all his faith in God. Soon after, Lin began winning again, but most importantly he found his true joy in life, a more intimate relationship with God.
He says, “The three strongest voices in society are money, worldly success, and human approval.” In other words, people today believe that striving towards money to discover their identity (status) or measuring their success by acquiring houses, cars, top-ranked schools, and/or by society’s approval (fitting in, approval of our family members, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, coaches and bosses etc.) will make them happy.
What about you, whose voice are you listening to? Whose identity are you trying to live up to, the one God gave you or one based on what culture or society is pressuring you to assume? As a person in urban culture, you too may think that these equal a good life.
When Jeremy Lin was asked, what did you learn most from Linsanity? He remarked, “I can honestly say the one thing I really learned from Linsanity was how empty fame, wealth and worldly success really are. I learned that even when I had it all, it wasn’t enough.” Matthew 16:26 cites, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
Jeremy now uses his fame to reach out to others to express the joy, fulfillment and contentment that can be found in Christ as well as spreading the message to others to not live the life others expect of you.
Personally, I love basketball. It has always been my favorite sport. As an urban inspired consumer who is in the process of discovering what God wants to do through me, I can truly respect Lin for his talent on the court but most importantly for spreading the message of God.
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