There’s a chance Jeremy Lin will never be fairly judged as an NBA player. He’s undoubtedly an asset offensively, but defensively he may never be anything less than a liability. Is he the guy who dropped 38 points on the Los Angeles Lakers in Madison Square Garden two-and-a-half years ago, or is he the dude pointing fingers after Steve Blake rifled off a game-winning jumper in his face last season?
Easy answer: He’s both. He’s the hero and the goat, but in the eyes of some, the G.O.A.T. and a hero.
And that’s exactly where Jeremy Lin’s perceived value is murky even in the clear light of day. He’s proven to be a productive player, but yet, is worth more to any team he plays on because of his heritage or facial features. Lin is a marketer’s dream, especially in such an Asian-American heavy region like Southern California. He’s a draw all on his own, a ready-to-go community builder just by virtue of his race and ethnicity. The Lakers have never had a player quite like him: Equal parts novelty act and living folk hero. This, more than his on-court dichotomy of skills, will always skew what Lin’s true value is as basketball player.
It’s important to move past what Lin is as a cult figure and examine exactly what he is as a basketball player.
But this is who and what he is, and there’s likely nothing he can ever do about it. Off the court, he’ll mean more to the Asian-American community in the Southland than any other place in North America, save for the Bay Area. Many Lakers fans will never know just how much he means in those circles and what a monumental acquisition this is to a segment of the largest fan base in the entire world.
(read on at SS&R)