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Mike D’Antoni on Linsanity: Greatest time ever

Sometimes, a player only needs a small opportunity to become great. Mike D'Antoni gave that to Jeremy Lin and the rest is history.
Mike D’Antoni talks about Linsanity: Greatest time ever

Mike D'Antoni was the one that decided to give Jeremy Lin a chance

In 2012, Jeremy Lin came out of nowhere to spark something the NBA had never seen before. An American-born of Taiwanese descent became the savior of the New York Knicks for a brief stretch of games. Even his coach at the time didn’t expect it to happen and the impact it would create worldwide. Linsanity captured the hearts of the basketball fans everywhere because it tells the story of an underdog and how he overcame it all and proved everyone wrong, showcasing he belongs in the NBA.

The story of Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin was signed for a 10-day contract without many expectations. Players like him come and go, but he grabbed that opportunity to showcase what he got. The Brooklyn Nets game, where he wasn’t supposed to be playing if Carmelo Anthony and other stars were not injured, was a sign of things to come. Lin scored 25 points and claimed he was shocked at what happened that night. If that was any preview of what was to come, the February 10 game against Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers announced his arrival. Jeremy scored 38 points in Madison Square Garden that night. A game-winning 3-pointer against the Toronto Raptors proved the hype.

However, things ended when coach Mike D’Antoni resigned in March. Melo was also back in the lineup but failed to sustain the momentum from Linsanity. In a 10-game stretch, Lin scored at least 20 points in six consecutive games and averaged 22.3 points per game and nine assists during a 13-game run. No one could have predicted that outburst from Jeremy, especially coach D’Antoni.

Mike D’Antoni on Linsanity

Fans would have thought Mike would be the one to recognize his player’s potential, given he’d seen him up close in practices but apparently, even he was surprised at Lin’s performances. He touched on this topic in his interview published on The Old Man & The Three podcast hosted by JJ Redick and Tommy Alter.

Tommy Alter:

Coach, what’s your perspective looking back on Linsanity?

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Mike D’Antoni:

Well, the greatest I don’t know, 10 days, two weeks, month. It was the greatest time ever. It caught fire. So fast and unexpected. The atmosphere at the Garden, there’s nothing better than that other than winning a championship.

JJ Redick:

Did anyone on the Knicks including yourself see that coming?

D’Antoni:

I wish I could say, ‘Yeah, I see this.’ I have to give credit to Kenny Atkinson. They said, ‘He’s got something.’

Linsanity trended worldwide because it’s one of the least expected stories to come out of the NBA and one of the most storied franchises in the league. Jeremy was educated at Harvard University and faced adversity coming into the NBA not looking very athletic but was very cerebral on the court.

Linsanity's hype inspired the younger generation of athletes that saw how if Jeremy Lin did it, they could do it also. Lin spent time in the D-League working hard before earning the call-up to the NBA. Linsanity may have been short, but the impact it created will forever be etched in the history of basketball. Credit to coach Mike D’Antoni who allowed him to show his worth. Sometimes, all we need is that small opportunity to succeed. Lin was presented with one, and he made the most out of it when it mattered the most.

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