New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin dubbed the ‘Taiwanese Tebow’

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin’s underdog story and outspoken evangelical faith have some sportswriters dubbing him the “Taiwanese Tebow.” … Continued

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin’s underdog story and outspoken evangelical faith have some sportswriters dubbing him the “Taiwanese Tebow.”

But while Lin and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow share similar Christian convictions, Lin’s rise to stardom is even more miraculous.

Just a few weeks ago, the Harvard University graduate was buried on the bench and crashing on friends’ couches. Stadium security guards mistook Lin for a team trainer.

After injuries to teammates, though, Lin was inserted into the starting lineup. The Knicks have promptly won five straight games, with their new point guard leading the way, sending the New Yorkers and Asian-Americans across the country into a frenzy of “Linsanity.”

Fans splurge for replicas of Lin’s jersey, the TV ratings of Knicks games have skyrocketed and shares of the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the basketball team, reached an all-time high on Monday (Feb. 13).

Like any good point guard, Lin knows the art of the pass — distributing the praise to his teammates and to God.

“I’m just thankful to God for everything,” Lin said in a recent post-game interview. “Like the Bible says, ‘God works in all things for the good of those who love him.’”

Lin’s passing reference to Romans 8:28 was caught by his longtime pastor, Stephen Chen of Redeemer Bible Fellowship, a ministry within the Chinese Church in Christ in Mountain View, Calif.

Chen describes the church as full of first- and second-generation immigrants, like Lin and his parents, who are “conservative in nature” and evangelical in faith.

“Very early in his life he decided to pay heed to the call of Christ to take up the cross daily and follow after him,” Chen said.

Even during basketball season, when games went deep into Saturday night, Lin’s family made sure he was in the pews on Sunday morning, Chen said.

Lin also credits his parents with teaching him to play “godly basketball,” which measures success by sportsmanship, not stats. That means putting teammates first and showing respect to opponents and referees.

As his star rose, first at Harvard and then with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Lin shared his faith testimony with youth groups and churches near his California home.

In a 2011 appearance at River of Life Christian Church in Santa Clara, he quoted from the works of John Piper, a prominent neo-Calvinist pastor in Minneapolis, and spoke of trusting in “God’s sovereign plan.”

Chen, who said he recently spoke to Lin, expects his sharp-shooting congregant to continue his evangelism in the bright lights of the Big Apple. “He is really looking forward to using the platform that he has to share the gospel with others,” Chen said.

Lin already uses his social media platforms to spread the Word.

His Twitter account’s description is, “to know him is to want to know him more.” His account’s avatar depicts Jesus telling a young man, “No, I’m not just talking about Twitter. I literally want you to follow me.” His Facebook page quotes Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Tom Krattenmaker, author of the book “Onward Christian Athletes,” is among the many who see some similarities between Lin and Tebow. Like Tebow, Lin has spoken of relying on faith to help carry him through highs and lows of his sports career, and both men often praise God during post-game interviews.

Lin himself has called Tebow “a polarizing figure,” but also said that he draws inspiration from the young quarterback’s example.

“I think the things he says in interviews, his approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much,” Lin recently told a California radio station.

Unlike Tebow, however, Lin does not yet have a signature gesture — a la “Tebowing,” the prayerful kneeling that became an Internet meme last fall. (The fast flow of basketball rarely affords time for sustained public piety.)

Michael Luo, a New York Times reporter, sees other differences between Lin and Tebow.

“I have the sense that (Lin’s) is a quieter, potentially less polarizing but no less devout style of faith,” Luo wrote in a column on Saturday. And while Tebow appeared in an anti-abortion Super Bowl ad two years ago, Asian- Americans tend to avoid the culture wars, Luo wrote.

Still, as one of the very few Asian-Americans to ever reach the NBA, Lin will have millions following his every move, said Melanie Mar Chow of the Asian-American Christian Fellowship campus ministry. Already college campuses are buzzing with talk of his “Linderella story.”

“We could probably count on one hand the number of Asian-Americans who are prominent Christians,” Mar Chow said. “It’s great to have a role model like him.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Universal Uclick.

  • cloudyskyhere

    Jeremy was born in LA. Every bit american as Obama, or any other american could be. The stress of the Taiwanese part on the title shows the shallowness and racist nature of the author. Period.

  • happymagic

    winner vs. loser: big difference!

  • talex_us

    The “Taiwanese Tebow?” Since when did he stop being American? Lin was born in California. Note to media: not all Asian-looking people are foreigners.

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.