Jeremy Lin Interview with CCTV-5’s NBA Frontline Primetime

Reminisces his Linsanity days and time with Warriors, Rockets, Lakers, and Hornets


Everything below is what Lin said. I didn’t include what the interviewer said because it would be an even lengthier read.

0:25 – I didn’t even think I’d make it to the NBA. When I first got to Harvard, a lot of students didn’t even know we had a basketball team. They would often ask me, “What do you like to do?” I would respond, “I like to play basketball.” They would say “Oh, Harvard has a basketball team?” A lot of students didn’t know. When I graduated, it became a popular sport. A lot of students would come to watch us play.

1:55 – My parents always told me, if you want to play (basketball), then go after your dreams. They always supported me. “If you love basketball this much, then keep playing.” My senior year (in college), I didn’t apply for any job, no interviews, nothing… only enter the NBA draft.

2:26 – At first, when I was younger, I would get really mad (at critics). They always said “too slow, he’s not quick,” I thought to myself, how is that possible? The entire NBA combine, John Wall and I were the fastest / quickest. They had the measurements. They saw that I was an Asian, (they said) “Oh, he must be able to shoot, but he has no athleticism.” So I would get mad back then.

3:02 – Of course my family (helped me the most). My older brother and younger brother. My agent, Roger (Montgomery). He kept giving me advice. Because sometimes I wanted to quit, wanted to retire, didn’t want to play anymore. So if he (Roger) saw that I was really depressed, he would fly out to the city (I was in) to meet me and comfort me.

3:32 – I remembered my agent called me on the phone. He said OK, the Warriors want to sign you. My brothers were both taking a nap. I was so happy. I said OK OK, I’ll call you back. I threw my phone on the bed, went to find my brothers and yelled!

4:30 – Yeah, I had a lot of those thoughts (about not being able to make it in the NBA). Everytime I didn’t play well, or if they sent me down to the D-League, or if I wouldn’t even get to play for 5 or 6 games straight, I would feel really terrible. I would start to think “Do I really belong in the NBA? Did I walk down the wrong path?”

4:54 – I remember in the D-League one time, I performed really bad. I thought that the Warriors was going to cut me. When I went home… my parents, they went to watch me play, so they were at the arena. We started arguing. Whatever they said, I was going to get mad. I went to take a walk and was outside a restaurant, I started crying and couldn’t stop. I felt there were so many unfair things against me. Why didn’t Warriors give me a chance to play? Why does the coach not like me? Why does this road have to be this difficult? Why when I went to the D-League, they told me I would only play for 2 games, but I ended up staying down there for 20 games. All of these things… I always complained (about).

6:08 – NBA had a lockout. All players stopped (playing). They didn’t even train / practice. They didn’t want to practice. I kept thinking, I hope this lockout take a long time (to end), so I can have a lot of time to improve. Internally, I was so motivated, because my rookie year felt so bad. I would practice by myself 3 times everyday. I practiced shooting. I had a shooting coach. I would shoot 500 jumpers with him everyday. I would practice my own basketball skills, about 250-500 (reps). 7 months, everyday. When November came, I was so bored. Everyday, it’s the same routine. I just kept thinking to myself, I’m going to have a breakout year next year.

7:11 – I kept telling myself, if you aren’t happy playing basketball, then just retire. Don’t have to play anymore. So yeah, I thought about it.

7:40 – Of course, it was the hard work I put in, but there were a lot of other coincidences. Perfect storm, everything good that happens, it’s just everything, everything coming together. I came to New York, the entire NBA’s largest market. There’s D’Antoni, (his system) specializes in pick and roll. PnR is my best strength, my specialty. Baron Davis got injured, Toney Douglas didn’t perform well. Carmelo got injured, Amar’e Stoudemire got injured, Iman Shumpert got injured. The entire season, we only had one back to back to back (games). The last game (of the b2b2b), was against the New Jersey Nets. Everyone was so tired, so he (D’Antoni) kept using / playing me (that game).

8:27 – I heard that after this b2b2b, if I didn’t play, perform well, they were going to cut me. I was very afraid of being cut. Everytime I saw the general manager, when we were in the practice facility, shooting facility, when the GM came, I would walk to the side and avoid him. I didn’t want to meet him, I didn’t want to see him, I didn’t want him to see me, because I thought he was going to cut me. I remember telling myself, hey, this might be your last chance. This might be your last NBA game. I didn’t know why I wasn’t nervous. I just said, OK, if this was going to be my game, then I’m not going to be timid. It’s going to be fun, I’m going to be confident. So when I got on court (that game against the Nets), I was very peaceful.

9:35 – Actually, I was just really happy (when he called me up). I didn’t know if he (D’Antoni) was going to play me. The day before in Boston, I didn’t play too well. So when he called me, I was like “Oh yes! I have one more chance to play!” I remember the first half, I think I scored 6 points. I had 4 assist and thought “Oh, I performed well.” I was so satisfied, because at that time, my career high was 12 points. So I was like “I’m already halfway (to my career high).” Starting when I was a kid, I always liked playing pick and roll.

10:30 – So now, I’m already comfortable, see, I started smiling. Seriously, the first half, I was so satisfied with myself. “6 points, 4 assists! I played so well!” Tyson, he knows his role and he does it well. He knows he doesn’t like shooting from the perimeter, so he kept rolling and he jumps so high. Here, they didn’t know that I like using my right hand. They never saw me play, so they kept letting me go to my right. Not even my teammates knew I like going right. When they (Knicks) picked me up, we never practiced together. They didn’t even know if I could play ball. They never saw me play.

11:45 – They kept letting me go to my right. Here, it’s all emotion, all adrenaline. I didn’t play for so long. Last game, so let it all out. I remember, I was so happy because I kept thinking to myself, they can’t cut me now. After that game in the shower, I wasn’t sure, but possibly (I was crying) tears of joy. I called my agent and he kept yelling “Ohhhhhh!!! I knew you could do it! Now they can’t cut you! Congratulations!”

13:05 – Yeah, in college someone told me (Kobe and I had the same birthday). We’re both very competitive. Really don’t like to lose. Back in the day, if I lost, I would have a bad attitude. Most of the time, I’m smiling, I’m laid back, but once I get on the court, and when it’s time to compete, I become a different person. Now, I can control it a little better.

13:39 – I believe our roads were very different. His entire career, (Kobe) has always been a Laker. They drafted him, or Charlotte drafted him, traded him to the Lakers, and he stayed for 20 years. I switch teams (almost) every year. So our stories are very different.

14:09 – There’s no pressure (playing against the Lakers) because I grew up in San Francisco. When you’re in SF, in northern California, and southern California, there’s a huge rivalry. So growing up, I’ve always been Warriors, Warriors, Warriors (fan). I couldn’t cheer for the Lakers. There’s such a huge rivalry in California. Since I was a kid, I never liked the Lakers. I didn’t have a car (in NYC), so I rode in a taxi. There are TVs in NYC taxis, so I was listening to music and saw myself (on the TV) and was like “huh?” When I heard (Kobe say what he said), I was like “Oh really?” I got really mad. So I told myself, I’m going to be very, very aggressive today. I’m going to keep shooting.

15:25 – We (Landry Fields) are both Christians, so this represents the Bible. We’re playing for God.

16:05 – First, it’s the Lakers. Second, I heard what Kobe said. Third, D’Antoni told me to be very aggressive and not to be afraid. So here, I wanted to dunk, but I didn’t jump that high, so I just went for a layup. When I made that left corner 3, I was like, OK today I’m going to be on. I know that if I make 3s early in the game, most of the time, I will perform well (all game).

17:03 – They had Gasol and Bynum. They’re huge, but they don’t like to run constantly. So we kept playing at a fast pace. Here, they (Lakers) wanted me to use my left hand… they know. This one, I remember I thought it wasn’t going in, but it went in. I thought it was going to be long.

18:00 – I remember this… my entire career, this was my favorite shot. I remember when I made that shot, Madison Square Garden, it was the loudest I ever heard in an arena. Like, I never heard an arena that loud. It felt like I was hovering off the ground cuz it was so loud. It was like crazy. Here, they didn’t use their point guard to defend me, but started using someone taller to guard me, right now is Matt Barnes. So I knew I couldn’t shoot 3s because he was so tall. I just kept driving in.

19:40 – I just kept telling myself, alright, just be aggressive, stay aggressive. Don’t think too much. After every game, I would think to myself, am I going to perform well the next game? When I think too much, I would put too much pressure on myself. I kept telling myself, don’t worry, just play aggressive. Shoot, drive, if it happens, it happens.

20:42 – I passed it to Iman. Iman couldn’t make the shot, so Tyson Chandler tapped the ball to Iman. Iman then passed it to me. I remember looking at D’Antoni, because I didn’t want him to call a timeout. If we played pick and roll, they’ll double team me or switch, so I’d have a 7-footer on me. So I told him (D’Antoni) 1v1 / iso. He said OK, no problem, go with that play.

26:06 – I was really sad, because I was restricted (free agent), so I thought New York was going to match. When they didn’t match, I felt really bad. I felt that New York’s fans treated me so well, I always wanted to stay in New York. When I got to Houston, I thought, OK this is a clean start. Our team was really young, so I thought it was going to be my team. When we added James Harden, I knew it’d affect me a lot, because he’s also pick and roll. Most of the pick and rolls, he’s controlling the ball. I remembered, OK if James is going to be here, if we’re going to be on the same team, then I need to start getting better at different things. How can I make cuts, shoot accurately, defend, all of these things need to improve.

29:27 – 65-70% (satisfied with my time in Houston). So yeah, not too satisfied. At first, I was really happy. It was very difficult with the Rockets. I was so used to being the pick and roll point man, the one to pass the ball, controlling everything, I was always the point guard. When I didn’t get that opportunity, I asked how was I going to play, then? Everyone is criticizing me. On the web / Internet, every topic is like “look, he’s so bad, he’s so bad, blah blah blah.” So I remembered, I don’t want to be on the Rockets anymore.

30:25 – I remember (Kobe) being very detailed. Every small thing, he already knows what he’s going to do. His training, his footwork, his workout, how to protect his body, he already knows everything. He’s extremely detailed. After every game, he would use his laptop to watch film on the plane. Usually, players sleep, listen to music, play cards / gamble, etc. He’s always watching film. After seeing him do that, I also started watching film after every game.

31:06 – I feel like his career, I mean, you can’t really draw it up any better. 5 championships, he didn’t have to switch teams. Also Los Angeles, such a big market city, I feel it was a great career. I watched (his last game) on TV. I normally don’t watch other players’ / teams’ games, but when I watched that game, I was rooting for him, hoping he’d win that game. Of course, when he plays us, I’m not going to root for him.

31:55 – I really like Jordan Clarkson. Yeah, he’s really funny. We still text each other. When I was in the playoffs, he kept texting me, saying “You’re playing really well. Keep it up.” He really is a good person. He’s very humble, very hard working. So I really like him. I think he’ll be very strong in the future.

32:35 – I don’t know. 40%, 30%, 20%, I don’t know (rating his time with the Lakers). We only won 21 games. At first, everyone was really upset. After a while, we started counting down how many games we have left. 30 more games, 29, 28, and in the end, everyone just gave up. It was a tough year.

33:30 – I was excited to join different team (after the Lakers), but I wasn’t that excited because last year, when I was a free agent, I knew my market value was so low. Many teams didn’t want to even talk to my agent. Other teams didn’t even want to give me veteran’s minimum, the lowest salary, they didn’t even want to offer to me. So I remembered, “Seriously? Everyone forgot that I can play really well?” So many people disrespected me, so I got mad. When I got to Charlotte, I had a chip on my shoulder. This year, I’m going to remember which teams didn’t want to speak to my agent or didn’t want to offer me a veteran’s minimum. I remembered them.

36:20 – We (Hornets) didn’t understand why everybody underrated us. On paper, we were pretty good. So we didn’t know why everyone thought we were going to suck. But we kept telling ourselves, it doesn’t matter what others say about us. If everyone in here, the coaches and the 15 players believed we can be a strong team, then that’s fine.

36:57 – I don’t know (why Heat won the first 2 games). I felt like every shot they took, they made in. We were constantly in defensive mode, we weren’t attacking. So you see, this game (game 3), we all kept attacking.

41:41 – Usually the road (I take), is not what I think is going to happen. I wanted to go to Stanford, I went to Harvard. I wanted to be drafted, I didn’t get drafted. I originally didn’t want to go to New York, I didn’t want New York to pick me up, I wanted to go back to Golden State. I wanted to stay in New York, I went to Houston. Last year, I wanted to go to Dallas Mavericks, but I ended up in Charlotte. So whatever I hope for, it usually doesn’t happen. So now, I try not to think too much about what I want. Take it slow. Whatever happens, I’ll face that challenge when that time comes.

42:30 – I want to say to my (Chinese) fans, thank you. Seriously, it’s tough to watch our games in the morning. So I’m very grateful. I know that every year when I visit, you come to the airport to receive me. You buy and wear my jersey and give me so many different gifts. Thank you. I hope I can perform really well next year.