Jeremy Lin and The Underdog In All Of Us!

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Mostly everyone who follows basketball, and many more who don’t, have probably at least heard of Jeremy Lin by now. For those still not quite familiar with all the hype, his play has helped the New York Knicks to turn their season around with a new burst of optimism. Thus far he has set stats comparable to NBA Legends and has broken several records all within a two week span.

What makes his story even more unique is that he is one of only a few asian players in the league, graduated from Harvard, had been cut from two other teams and was facing the same fate with the Knicks when desperation called for the coach Mike D’Antoni to give him a chance; he exceeded expectations and the rest is, as they say, history!

What makes Jeremy Lin’s story more exciting is the fact that he, by all measures, falls into the category of the underdog story. Not only is he an underdog but he plays for a historically underdog team, the New York Knicks. The Knicks haven't won a championship since the earlier seventies. Although they have flirted with opportunities they've been undermined by the likes of the Indianapolis Pacers, the Miami Heat, the Houston Rockets and ofcourse most infamously, the Chicago Bulls.

Speaking of the Bulls, few remember that it took Michael Jordan eight years before winning his first championship. He too started as the unlikely underdog. The underdog story goes something like this: Initially, no one knows who you are ie "Jeremy Lin." For whatever reason you're given an opportunity to perform ie "desperation." At first no one believes in you, ie "disbelief." Then after a few repeated displays of luck you become ie "interesting." The interest becomes "curiosity." That curiosity becomes "popularity." The popularity along with continued success becomes hope ie "maybe he really is this good"? That hope becomes optimism ie "he really is this good!" That optimism then becomes fantasy ie "can he even lose"? The fantasy becomes ridiculousness ie "we may never lose again!" That ridiculousness becomes mania ie "Linsanity!"

Of course, at this juncture all reason has been thrown out the window and people stop using common sense to realize that no one can stay on top forever... not even Michael Jordan! After a few stumbles the mania settles down and we come back to a more practical assessment ie "the kid's got talent!" But what makes the story so compelling is that we all think of ourselves as the "underdog!" It's the "you don't know what it's like to walk in my shoes" attitude. No matter where you may have been born in life or under what circumstances, even if you did have silver spoons in your mouth, we all feel like no one knows my pain! Hence why we identify with the underdog and want to see them win.

The irony, however, is that if underdogs simply stayed underdogs we would just call them "losers." If the underdog in fact stays on top and continues to succeed we then call them "winners!" The point is that the underdog story is only compelling because of the journey. Everyone wants to see the underdog overcome! If indeed, the underdog overcomes and remains the "champ" then we quickly become bored and want to see the next underdog dethrone them... ie Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls! Once the champ retires, loses or fades to black we then honor their successes and memories by making them legends, folklore or myths.

This is the cycle of life... We all want desperately to succeed in whatever arena of life we pursue. But we must realize that "success is failure turned inside out." Losers become champs... champs become losers and the cycle repeats. We all aspire; we all overcome but it's not always done in the public's eye yet the underdog in all of us wants to win! Cheers to all the underdogs out there... keep striving!