Jeremy Lin was a finalist for the Sportsmanship award, as well as Most Improved, but lost both awards. You can make arguments against him receiving MIP, such as it’s more that he was overlooked last year, rather than he improved from last year. Although he did do a ton of work in the off-season last summer to change many aspects of his game and conditioning. But, whatever, I’m okay with him not winning MIP. But I don’t see how he wasn’t a lock to win the Sportsmanship Award–not that it’s such a coveted award. But if you’re giving out awards, then I would think the whole idea is to give the award to someone who deserves it. And when someone comes along who exemplifies the ideals of the award, then you should be tripping all over yourself to give it to this person. Now I don’t know exactly what the Sportsmanship award is for, but if it is as self-explanatory as it sounds, then not only should Jeremy receive the award, they should rename it to the Jeremy Lin Sportsmanship Award (currently, it’s named after Joe Dumars). Okay, admittedly, it’s too early to name an award after him, but you get what I’m saying.
Jeremy Lin represents the ideals of sportsmanship in every way. So much so that I feel stupid even pointing out all the reasons he should receive it. I think it’s obvious to everyone, it seems, except to NBA players who get to vote on the award. So rather than pointing out all the obvious reasons, I will give a little example that might not be so obvious. I remember that in the game against the Nets in which the Knicks lost and Deron Williams scorched him and the Knicks for 38 points, Lin came up to Humphries after the game to tell Humphries that he doesn’t think it’s right that Knicks fans kept booing him throughout the game (because of his infamous divorce with Kim Kardashian). I mean, can you imagine any other NBA player doing something like this? Jeremy Lin does the right thing, even when no one is looking. That’s the mark of sportsmanship and that’s the mark of character.
It’s no coincidence that when NBA players vote on an award that Lin clearly deserves (e.g., Sportsmanship), he doesn’t get it. But when NBA players aren’t involved in the voting, Lin gets the recognition he deserves (e.g., Time 100 Most Influential, Forbes Top 10 Most Influential Athletes, etc.). And on top of that, the NBA and Knicks organization still haven’t shown any support for Lin’s Time 100, Forbes Top 10, etc. recognition. I think it all has to do with NBA player jealousy towards Lin. It’s unfortunate, because he’s such a decent person. It’s not his fault that he’s gotten a lot of attention. It’s not like he’s going out there trying to get all the attention. In fact, he’s gone out of his way to move the spotlight away from him.
Lin and those magical weeks of Linsanity is a gift. We should all just be thankful, rather than letting our human failings (envy, prejudice, etc.) get in the way of receiving this gift humbly.