My final line in the Tim Tebow article that I wrote last September referenced the fact that Tebow’s blown-up image of the “perfect” person created by the media would cause a certain backlash. I’d say now is a good time to revisit it. Tim Tebow crashed the NFL last season. Now, Jeremy Lin is doing the exact same thing in the NBA.
In less than ten full starts, Lin has brought the New York Knicks back from irrelevancy and made them a playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. And it’s making me wonder how our society will react to yet another “feel-good” sports story.
Like Lin, Tebow hit off his run with a bang, winning seven out of his first eight starts. But Tebow’s run ended when he ran into an exceptional team, in the New England Patriots, and lost. After that, Tebow didn’t look the same; he looked flustered, discouraged, and not confident in his ability. Lin obviously has to be feeling great after helping the Knicks beat the defending NBA champions on Sunday afternoon. But how will he react when adversity hits hard?
If Lin keeps winning and performing well, the media hype will only increase, as it did with Tebow. Remember, these athletes are only human beings after all, just like the rest of us. In Tebow’s case, the amount of criticism and disdain for him increased exponentially with each triumph. However, the funny thing right now is that there aren’t any critics of Lin. One aspect of Lin’s game that he has to improve is his turnover rate.
Lin turns the ball over a little more than I’m sure Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni would like. But analysts and sports columnists in the past few weeks all continue to say that his turnovers are a product of the style of offense that the Knicks like to run. I’m sorry but what is this?
If we’re going to be outrageously harsh on Tebow, who by the way had many things going against him this year, why aren’t we being a little critical of Lin? Look, I like Lin’s story. It’s a perfect example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off in one’s career. I hope he succeeds and continues to play well. But my point is simply this: our society, when referring to sports, unfairly gives and places too much credit and blame upon the individual rather than the team.
We didn’t have to wait long for the next “Tim Tebow” to come around. And what have we learned from the last time? Absolutely nothing.