Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow connect through religion

2 Mar

Tam said he isn’t privy to the superstars’ private conversations, or how regularly they communicate with each other. But make no mistake, he said, Lin — a 6-foot-3 Californian who majored in economics — is no “Taiwanese Tim Tebow,” as some have anointed him.

Besides having no signature salute akin to Tebow’s trademark bended knee, Lin “comes from an Asian-American community where Asians are used to being in the background,” Tam said.

“Tim Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner. He comes from a white family. Most NFL quarterbacks are white. Jeremy is the first Asian-American basketball star in the NBA. To even mention the name of God is a very bold thing.


“What makes Tebow and Jeremy Lin special is they’ve made (their faith) very public, and that can open them up to criticism of sorts, controversy and attacks. So having that support for each other is very helpful. Jeremy has shown himself able and capable to withstand the pressure of going against the predominant culture. This is where true heroes are really made. This isn’t a show. This is a coming-out of who he is.”

In a recent ESPN interview, Tebow, 24, called Lin “a great role model” and remarked, “I think he’s handling himself great. I think he can take care of himself.”

Tam said he first met Lin when he was a staffer at Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship. Lin, then a junior, was leading a Bible study group. During Lin’s senior year before graduating in 2010, Tam said, “I started meeting with him weekly to mentor him. Looking back, he would say he wasn’t fully committed to Christ at that time. I think he got caught up in certain aspects of Harvard basketball culture. He wanted to know how he could make time for prayer.”

Lin was ignored in the NBA Draft and then dropped by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before the desperate Knicks plucked him from their bench more than two weeks ago. Small wonder one of Lin’s favorite Bible passages, Tam said, is from Romans 5:3, which teaches, “Suffering produces perseverance.”

“Jeremy is an aggressive player. He’s the same way when it comes to his trust in God,” Tam said. “Now, you can see that his patience has paid off. He could have thrown in the towel and just gone into some other career, but he stuck with it. Jeremy’s faith is not merely an addition to his personality, it’s central and core to his personality.”

Still, Tam hastened to add, “There’s just no way Jeremy or Tim or anybody could live up to the standards that we expect. There is that risk of falling hard. At the same time — and I see this in Tim Tebow as well — when he falls, if Jeremy is true to himself and true to his faith, he will fall with grace. It’s definitely a miracle of God that he has gotten this far.”

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