As an American institution, Harvard University evokes sentiments of high scholarship, intellectual renown, and a measured amount of social elitism. The nation’s oldest higher learning institute has appeared on the resumes of eight U.S. Presidents, including former President Barack Obama, and counts Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners among its alumni.
As far as college basketball, Harvard has been an outlier, but in the late 2000s, Jeremy Lin displayed the same intensity on the court as Ivy League students approach academics, scoring 30 points in a nationally-televised loss against University of Connecticut. Since then, Lin has captivated sports fans as a lesson in exceeding expectations and rising to challenges, becoming the NBA’s first Taiwanese American player and the league’s most successful Crimson basketball alum. In 2012, the undrafted upstart got the biggest opportunity he could receive, a brief role on the starting lineup of the New York Knicks, and instantly the phenomenon of “Linsanity” was born.
The enthusiastic athlete spent his formative years on the west coast, in the shadow of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, but even in his youth, Lin had his sights set on the Ivy League. While schools in his home state of California were hesitant to recruit him, the highly selective Harvard saw Lin’s potential and guaranteed the point guard a spot on the roster.
In his four years with the Crimson, he shattered Ivy League records in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, in addition to leading the school to a record 21 wins. His determination and dedication were seen on national TV in his senior year, 2009-10, as he nearly led his team to an upset against a high-profile NCAA opponent. The spirit of resilience Lin displayed as a Harvard student-athlete has always been buoyed by his personal faith, and he continues to use his guiding principles as a professional basketball player.
In 2010, Lin graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft. Although he was not initially selected, the Golden State Warriors signed him as a rookie, igniting fan interest from the large Asian American community in the Bay Area. Two years later, his exceptional play in New York expanded his fandom worldwide. Recently, Lin left the NBA to bring his energy to the Chinese Basketball Association’s Beijing Ducks, intending to use the opportunity to reignite his own passion for the game before making another run in America. As an ambassador for the Harvard Crimson, he continues to exceed expectations professionally as well as personally, using his platform to inspire others to persevere as well.