Linpossible is Nothing

Chris Hall, Staff Writer

Jeremy Lin has created a phenomenon in the sports world of late because of  his an unlikely rise to stardom in the NBA. He came out of obscurity spending most of his time on the bench rather than on the court until his breakout game, scoring 25 points against the Nets. Also Lin is the only Asian-American in the NBA right now and there has been a lot of turmoil around his race. But perhaps the biggest part of the Linsanity is that Lin did not play college basketball at an NBA powerhouse such as UCLA or Kansas, but attended Harvard, an Ivy League School, which is not known for sending athletes into the pros.

Currently Lin is the only athlete from an academically rigorous, Ivy League school in the NBA. The last appearance from an Ivy Leaguer was by Matt Maloney of Penn and Chris Dudley of Yale who played for the Atlanta Hawks and the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2002-3 season, respectively. The last Harvard alumnus to play in the NBA was Wyndol Gray in 1953. Although the Ivies are world renowned for their academic prowess,  they seem to be lacking the athletic department. However, Lin is changing this perception.

Lin is a very talented ball player and has had numerous successes on the court. He averages 14.6 points per game and 6.1 assists per game. He has lead his team to victory winning 10 out of 13 games that he has taken an active role in. Lin has proved himself against formidable opponents such as the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant where Lin put up 38 points. It is tough to believe that Harvard, which has not sent a player to the NBA in over 50 years, produced somebody that can go head to head with Kobe Bryant. Arguably one of the best players in the league, Bryant averages 28.6 points per game and has won 5 NBA titles. Yet even he could not contain Lin.

Lin’s success shows that Ivy Leaguers along with completing rigorous academic studies can be elite athletes. Blake, despite their exclusiveness has a very good connection with the Ivy Leagues. From 2007- 2010 Blake sent 49 students to the eight Ivy League schools: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and Brown. So there is a fair population of Blake alumni at the Ivies, including student athletes that play hockey, lacrosse and cross country.

Lin rose from a student athlete at Harvard, with no expectations of playing in the pros, to being an NBA star. Lin was not an NBA prodigy in high school, he did not play in the McDonalds All American game, like most NBA stars. He was not vigorously recruited by the likes of Duke or UCLA, schools that are known for their basketball. Rather Harvard and Brown were the only schools that showed interest in him. Despite falling short in his earlier days to all of his NBA peers who followed the traditional path to NBA stardom, he goes toe to toe with them on the court and usually even bests them.

If Lin made the jump from Ivies to pros without any expectations, why cannot Blake alumni competing in college do the same? Ryan Bullock ‘11 will be playing hockey at Dartmouth next year. What is to stop him from joining the seven other Dartmouth alumni currently in the NHL?

All Blake athletes should be given a rekindled hope that exceling in academics and athletics is entirely possible, as Lin had a 4.2 GPA in high school. Rising out of obscurity is entirely possible. Lin’s success proves these points making his emergence truly Linsane.