This week, ESPN released a list of the NBA’s most influential players ever. The list included unsurprising picks like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Larry Bird, and more.
However, among the 100 chosen was none other than Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin. Royce Webb of ESPN wrote:
“Was Linsanity the start of something, or a phenomenon that will never be duplicated?
Both, probably. When Lin came off the bench and took over the NBA for a few weeks in 2012, leading the woeful Knicks to a seven-game winning streak, there was no precedent for an Asian-American player playing such a dominant, spectacular role for an NBA team. What’s more, he did it in the world’s media capital, and his exploits resonated instantly in New York, from coast to coast and across the globe.
Though his career has taken several twists, Lin remains a popular and productive player when healthy, and he has done more than any player other than Yao Ming to force NBA observers to reconsider the talents of players of Asian heritage.”
Lin celebrated the honor with his fans by posting the following on Twitter:
Love me or hate me, but you can’t ever say I didn’t forever change the game!! To even be on this list is craaaazy! Love my fans who stuck by my side. There’s more to be done, more to come. Believe that!! #75https://t.co/Z8iaDak6oB
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) March 29, 2018
Fans all around also congratulated Lin on Twitter:
In my book, you are the #1 most influential NBA player.
— Jane 🌸 #ENOUGH #DumpNRA (@JaneNeverDone) March 29, 2018
Forget the game, you changed my life. #GodIsGood
— Winnie Alex Liu (@Amoeba79) March 29, 2018
You’re #1 for me❤️❤️❤️@JLin7
— Aal (@Aliciaforward) March 29, 2018
You are a game changer and a cultural icon for sure 💯. I appreciate you and all you have done for the game.
— Ian Panchèvre (@IanPanchevre) March 29, 2018
— yelley (@yelbeeez) March 29, 2018
We love you and super proud of you 🙂
— sherry xu (@sherry_qian_xu) March 29, 2018
It’s no secret how much impact Lin has made in the Asian American community. Coming on as a bench player for the Golden State Warriors to starting point guard for several top NBA franchises is not an easy task while still dealing with other challenges due to his ethnicity. In 2016, Lin said that he still gets stop by security guards walking into games because they don’t think he’s a player.
“It’s one of those things where it literally happens everywhere,” Lin told ESPN. “At opposing arenas, it happens all the time. Just the other night in Brooklyn, I was trying to leave [Barclays Center] and one of the ladies was like, ‘Hey, I need your credentials for you to pass.’ And then someone else was like, ‘Oh, he’s a player. He’s good.’ I’m used to it by now. It’s just part of being Asian in the NBA.”
Lin was one of two players of Asian descent on the list, the other being NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming, who has been a huge influence on Lin and his career.
“I mean, there’s no person that has been impacted more than me,” Lin told ESPN in a 2016 interview. “No other player, no other person, I would say, has been more impacted by what Yao has done than me because I was kind of the one that came right after him.”
Congrats on the honor Jeremy!