Jeremy Lin is on a surreal ride.
Last night, he walked off the court at Madison Square Garden in New York City having outplayed Kobe Bryant, arguably the best basketball player in the world. Lin has led the New York Knicks to four straight victories and, in the process, created a storm of enthusiasm dubbed “Linsanity.”
It was just a few short weeks ago that Lin’s professional career was very much in doubt. Graduating from Harvard in 2010, Lin went undrafted and then bounced around the NBA being cut by several teams.
He arrived in New York a few weeks back, signed by the Knicks only because of a series of injuries to more established players on the roster. With the team performing poorly on the court, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni inserted Lin into the lineup out of desperation.
His play has been at an all-star level and has inspired his team, the city and millions of basketball fans in China. (Lin is of Chinese descent.)
Beyond the hoops and the hype, Lin’s success reminds us all of important business lessons:
1. We have to take ownership of our success. Lin wasn’t recruited to play basketball out of high school and landed at Harvard after sending the coach a DVD of his highlights.
He kept a positive attitude at every stop in his professional career and continued to work on his game, preparing himself for the opportunity to perform.
2. There is little difference between magnificent and mediocre. There are thousands of players across the country with more natural talent and athletic ability then Lin, yet who failed to catch on professionally. Success demands hard work, diligence and commitment.
3. Humility inspires. In a post-game interview last night, Lin was quick to credit his teammates for the win. He talked about the positive impact of the fans at the game, as well as the support he has received from New Yorkers. That genuine humility is very much at the core of Linsanity.