words // Brennan Hiro Williams
images // Nick DePaula
Jeremy Lin was a 23-year-old undrafted player, barely hanging on to a roster spot. During the 2010-2011 season with the Golden State Warriors, he appeared in only 29 games, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 assists. Then everything changed.
Despite his unremarkable first year in the league, there Lin stood, on the hallowed hardwood court at Madison Square Garden, starting the first game of his career. Two nights after dropping a shocking 25 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists (all career highs) against Deron Williams and the New Jersey Nets, he tallied 28 points and 8 assists to lead the Melo-less Knicks to victory over the Utah Jazz. The then-coach of the Knicks, Mike D'Antoni, declared that the team would ride Lin's momentum like “freakin' Secretariat,” and the buzz grew louder.
By the next week, the crafty point guard from Harvard was making a huge impact for the Knicks night in and night out. His teammates loved every minute of it, and the Knicks faithful ate it up, too. We witnessed basketball fans from all different walks of life, embracing in jubilation after every huge play – every time he threw a perfect alley-oop lob to Landry Fields, or contorted for an up-and-under layup, or screamed to the heavens following a three-point play. He scored 38 points to beat Kobe Bryant's Lakers, and he dropped 28 and 14 against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Lin scored a total of 136 points in his first five career starts, the most since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger, surpassing Shaquille O'neal. They called it Linsanity.
Perhaps his biggest play happened on February 14, when the Knicks visited the Toronto Raptors. The SC Team even went to a sports bar that night specifically to watch a Knicks and Raptors game (clearly a first). With just under 20 seconds left, and the game tied at 87, Lin held the ball for the last shot at mid court. As the clock ticked down, and it became clear that Lin would isolate against Jose Calderon, the crowd of over 20,000 people rose to their feet. A confident Lin dribbled four times towards the top of the key and launched a pull-up three pointer. Dagger.
The Air Canada Centre went wild. The hundred or so patrons at Spirit of 77 in Portland, Oregon, where the Sole Collector staff was watching the game, went wild. The entire basketball world went wild. Feelings of amazement, pride and possibility ensued.
The Jeremy Lin story certainly isn't over, but its beginnings, from his journey to the league and his emergence as an impact player, will go down as one of the biggest sports stories of the decade.
Nike will commemorate his story with the release of a Jeremy Lin Air Force 1 quickstrike, featuring a classic New York Knicks colorway in blue and orange. As part of the “Chambray Pack,” the Jeremy Lin Air Force 1 will be priced at $100 and utilizes a chambray body with nubuck overlays. The tongue features a special “LIN” logo woven tab, a play on the original Nike NYC logo, while the heel features an embroidered “JL” logo. The shoe also features a Jeremy Lin autograph print on the sockliner.
The Jeremy Lin Nike Air Force 1 Quickstrike is available today, July 7, at select House of Hoops accounts.
Sole Collector provides an exclusive first look at the Jeremy Lin Air Force 1 in the pictures below: