Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jeremy Lin

Anybody been following the Jeremy Lin phenomenon in the NBA? Here's a quote from the phenom, reported today by David Brooks:
 “I’m not working hard and practicing day in and day out so that I can please other people. My audience is God. ... The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I still don’t fully understand what that means; I struggle with these things every game, every day. I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give up my game to Him.”
Kinda takes the fan out of fanaticism, doesn't it? Any thoughts, anyone?


  1. I think it's very interesting. I have not followed the story extensively, as I don't really care for the NBA in general, but I have heard the stories and seen the highlights on TV at work. This guy went to Harvard and got a 3.1 GPA and a degree in Economics. Personally, I wish more Harvard economists would play in the NBA instead of ruining our economy with their Keynesian cronyism, but that's a different story.

    Not referring to a religion in that quote and admitting that he doesn't "understand what that means" I perceive to be very positive. I also like that he doesn't give God credit for making him a great player as much as he uses God as an inspiration to be better. I think there's a subtle distinction there that is often taken for granted by professional athletes/role models for youth. I hope that if he ever expounds on that statement (and I'm sure he'll be asked to, rightly or wrongly) that his seeming open-mindedness and humility about the matter are emphasized more than an endorsement of some specific doctrine.

    Anyway, when Carmello gets back from injury and ruins the poor Knicks once again, this will all blow over. Ten years down the road, Jeremy Lin will be a Senator in New York and getting corporate bailouts for all of his old classmates.

  2. I guess this sort of subverts the old "team" spirit.

  3. Top athletes have to focus so hard on the court/field/etc, they often don't know how to describe "how" they do it. I think the God answer is an easy (though probably honest) way out of a lot of questions.

    The truth is that it takes thousands of hours of practice to get that good. Jeremy Lin has had the skill, it just took a willing team and a little confidence to get some success.
    It ultimately is still about a team of human athletes. The media should stop asking these athletes so many questions, it demeans the complexity and beauty of sports.

  4. Wrong-headed, delusional, and prideful to a ridiculous degree.

    If you think your God gives a shit about how you run around and shoot a basketball-while this same God oversees an unknowable amount of simultaneous human and animal suffering-you are an idiot. And your God, should he exist, is worse.

  5. I'm sure there's a more tactful way to say that, but I think it would fail to convey the profound sense of pity/anger/contempt/resignation that I feel when reading such utterly ridiculous statements.

  6. I feel the same way. He went to Harvard, and that's the best he can come up with!

    Yet, he's quoted today praising his teammates and the team's camaraderie. "It's just such a joy to be around them every day." So maybe the "only playing for God" line is disingenuous.

    Ben's right, most athletes are not worth quoting. We should just let their playing skills speak for them, and not embarrass ourselves (as members of the human species, I mean) by expecting trenchant wisdom from people whose attainment of athletic excellence has usually left them little time or capacity for serious reflection.

    But... I really wish one of them would just once say something like: "I'm humbled by the gift nature has given me." And then lightly tap the chest and point to Mother Earth, instead of God's heaven.

  7. I think Bill Maher said it succinctly when he called thanking a god for personal success "arrogance parading as humility."

    Also, these guys have managers, agents, and publicists so he could very well been coached on what to say. But it seems from his statement that he is simply repeating indoctrinated god-talk he has learned to regurgitate when prompted by certain questions. That would easily explain the severe disconnect from reality so the perceived arrogance may simply be a reflection of his theological beliefs.