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Sustaining faith

"Sustaining faith" Continued...

Lin grew up in the church, so he was "thrown off guard" by the godless culture of the Harvard basketball team, Tam said. It was then he got involved with the school's Asian-American Christian Fellowship, led a Bible study for two years for both Christians and non-Christians, and made concerted efforts to reach out to his non-Christian roommates. Tam said Lin was one of two practicing Christians on the Crimson basketball team, and when he made efforts to "mobilize" their faith, he did not preach at them.

"He always did it in a way that was respectful and sensitive," Tam said.

Lin made the trip to the NBA's D-League three times during his first season in the pros. At the beginning of this season, Golden State waived its right to resign him, and the Houston Rockets picked him up. Lin played just two preseason games for the Rockets before they cut him loose. He joined the Knicks on Dec. 27 as a bench warmer. He soon lost his spot on the roster and made another trip to the D-League in late January.

At the beginning of February, the team considered cutting Lin to make room under the salary cap for a new player. But on Feb. 4, with the team still licking its wounds from a tough loss against the Boston Celtics, D'Antoni decided to give Lin a shot. After playing just 55 minutes during the team's first 23 games, Lin came off the bench to score 25 points, grab five rebounds, and dish out seven assists, leading the Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the Nets. (See "Super bowled over," by Mark Bergin, Feb. 25 issue.)

During the Knicks' seven-game winning streak, Lin has averaged 24.4 points, four rebounds, and 9.1 assists, and has moved into the starting lineup.

Questions about Lin and shock over his recent performance have exploded on Twitter and other social networks. Sportswriters scrambled to find out more about the 23-year-old from Palo Alto, Calif. Media commentators dubbed the internet frenzy "Linsanity." It took about a week for word of Lin's faith to spread. Comparisons to Tebow soon followed.

Tam, Lin's Harvard mentor, says the two athletes may share a common faith but have very different ways of showing it. He hesitated when asked whether Lin would become a cultural icon like Tebow.

"He's a very friendly, non-assuming person, so even though he is very bright and very accomplished, you wouldn't be able to tell just by sitting around reading the Bible together or praying together," Tam said of his friend.

While Lin might not share Tebow's flair for attention, Tam added that both men have a commitment to sharing their faith and backing it up with their actions: "They both want to give all the credit to God."

This article originally appeared at WORLD on Campus.

Listen to WORLD sports reporter Mark Bergin discuss Jeremy Lin's impact on the New York Knicks on WORLD's radio news magazine The World and Everything in It.

Samantha Gilman
Samantha Gilman

Samantha is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a WORLD intern.

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