Ahead of Jeremy Lin’s days of “Linsanity” that led a winning turnaround for the New York Knicks in 2012, the Houston Rockets and their general manager, Daryl Morey, already had a good idea of what the Asian American player was capable of.
In fact, the team — which took Lin from 2012 to 2014 — already knew of his skills even before he had entered the 2010 NBA draft, where he was not selected.
Why Morey declined to draft Lin at the time, however, is clear to many, and he admitted so years later in financial journalist Michael Lewis’s book, “The Undoing Project.”
His not-so-new reason being: Lin is Asian.
“He lit up our model,” said Morey. “Our model said take him with, like, the 15th pick in the draft.”
A year after the Rockets failed to draft Lin, they “began to measure the speed of a player’s first two steps,” Lewis wrote, and Lin “had the quickest first move of any player measured.” Apparently, he “was explosive and was able to change direction far more quickly than most NBA players.”
At this point, Morey realized he was wrong. “He’s incredibly athletic,” he said about Lin.
“But the reality is that every f**king person, including me, thought he was unathletic. And I can’t think of any reason for it other than he was Asian.”
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The general manager’s comments appeared on Reddit soon after Lin revealed feeling that he has “hit rock bottom” and that the NBA has “kind of given up” on him.
“In English, there is a saying that says, ‘Once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up.’ But rock bottom seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. So free agency has been tough. Because I feel like in some ways, the NBA has kind of given up on me. And I always knew that if I gave anybody a reason to doubt, they would,” the 30-year-old, who is currently a free agent, said in a sermon at a church in Taiwan on Sunday.
Needless to say, Morey was not alone in his thoughts. In a 2012 article, Sports Illustrated’s lead NBA writer Phil Taylor admitted to underestimating Lin as well:
“Even though Lin went on to star at Harvard, even though he impressed me every time I watched him in high school and college, even though he had a memorable summer league duel against Wall, more than holding his own as an undrafted rookie against the No. 1 pick of the draft, I wasn’t at all surprised when no one thought he had much of a chance to succeed in the NBA. I knew on some level that part of the reason Lin was so quickly dismissed was that NBA people had a hard time believing that an Asian-American could play point guard in the NBA, which is why I’m kicking myself — I didn’t question the conventional wisdom even though it didn’t go along with what I saw with my own eyes.”
Morey’s admission drew mixed reactions from netizens, but many pointed out that it all comes down to racism.
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