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Behind the Linsanity is a story of family, faith and hard work

Published: Friday, July 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

JEREMY LIN: The Reason for the Linsanity,” Timothy Dalrymple, Center Street, Hachette Book Group, $14.99, 185 pages

With Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol defending him, New York guard Jeremy Lin pulled up and drained a 19-foot jump shot to give the Knicks a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, sending Madison Square Garden into a thunderous, delirious frenzy.

Even though Lin would go on to have 38 points and seven assists in the New York victory last February, there was no taunting laughter or tongue-wagging by Lin. The rookie only lowered his head and faced his opponent.

While athletic prowess, chiseled muscles and extraordinary height can help an athlete succeed, Lin was evidence that faith, humility and hard work are just as formidable.

That’s one of the main themes that author Timothy Dalrymple hopes readers take from his book, “Jeremy Lin: The Reason for the Linsanity,” published in May.

“More people can relate to Jeremy because he is not 7-feet tall or the strongest player on the court,” Dalrymple said. “His faith taught him a great deal about humility and putting others first. It takes humility to endure all the failures that one must endure as an athlete. This has been one of Jeremy’s secret weapons as he has grown and matured as a Christian and basketball player.”

Dalrymple, managing editor for the evangelical portal at patheos.com, first heard about Lin while finishing his doctorate at Harvard University. At the time, Lin was leading the Crimson to thrilling victories in the Ivy League.

Intrigued, Dalrymple had the foresight to request an interview with Lin in 2010. The two met in the basketball player’s dorm room and talked about how Lin’s upbringing and Christian faith have helped him develop his character and basketball skills.

“I was very impressed with his humility and clarity of thinking in regards to his faith and sports. I found him to be an interesting character, so I kept tabs on him,” Dalrymple said.

“I thought he had a great deal of potential merely based on his character. When it comes to success in sports, you can either be so transcendently talented that it doesn’t matter, or you need to have a strong sense of commitment, hard work and good habits, and he seemed to have those things, so I suspected that things would go well for him.”

So when Lin, a thin-framed point guard from Palo Alto, Calif., came off the bench to lead the New York Knicks on a seven-game winning streak and become the hottest story in sports last February, millions marveled, but Dalrymple was not surprised.

Unrecruited out of high school and undrafted out of college, Lin signed with his hometown Golden State Warriors and almost gave up on his NBA dream when things didn’t work out. Then he was cut by the Houston Rockets on the day before Christmas. Still he persevered. He was days away from being unloaded by the New York Knicks when his golden opportunity presented itself against the New Jersey Nets.

Lin came off the bench to score 25 points, dish out seven assists and pull down five rebounds to lead the Knicks to the first of seven straight wins. In the next game against Utah, Lin schooled the Jazz for 28 points and eight assists, and a winning streak was underway.

The cultural phenomenon that followed his sudden and unexpected success was labeled “Linsanity.” This past week, Lin again became one of the biggest stories in sports when the Knicks decided not to match a three-year, $25.1 million contact offer made by Houston, making Lin a member of the Rockets for the upcoming season.

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