Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise has been well-documented. Now, a new HBO documentary on the one-time Knicks guard hopes to capture the deeper meaning behind “Linsanity” through the lens of time and stereotypes, particularly with the rise of anti-Asian violence in recent years.
“If I were to describe ’38 at the Garden’ without mentioning basketball, I’d say that Part 1 is about stereotypes, Part 2 is about what happens when someone shatters those stereotypes, and Part 3 is about today – when those stereotypes have been weaponized and turned into anti-Asian violence,” the film’s director, Frank Chi, told the Daily Beast.
On Tuesday, HBO unveiled a trailer for the film, named after the number of points Lin scored in a spectacular career performance against the late Kobe Bryant and the Lakers at MSG on Feb. 10, 2012. The film examines Lin’s improbable rise from undrafted free agent out of Harvard, to the Knicks bench, to NBA stardom.
In particular, it will focus on the 2011-12 season, when, in his second year, Lin unexpectedly led an injury-plagued and struggling Knicks team to a 9-3 mark during his first dozen starts in the middle of the season. During that span, he averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists, also hitting a game-winning 3-pointer against the Raptors.
The Knicks finished 36-30 that 2011-12 season and lost to the Heat in the first round of the playoffs in five games. They’ve made the postseason twice since.
Still, while Lin became the talk of the NBA, the period wasn’t particularly easy for him. Last month, he said he lost his “humanity” during the incredible highs and lows of his career.
The documentary, which will debut on HBO Max on Oct. 11, examines what it meant for the Asian American community who’d never seen one of their own turn into an NBA star.
“I wanted to make this movie not just to relive what is still the greatest basketball memory of my life, but to document the power of an ‘impossible moment’ — when society at large told a group of people they couldn’t do something, and someone came out of nowhere and proved everyone wrong,” Chi told The Daily Beast.
“Jeremy’s story means so much to me because it is the greatest example that Asian Americans have of someone who shattered the stereotypes that plague us — and he did it on the world stage.”
Lin, who is now 34 and whose NBA career also included stints with the Rockets, Lakers, Hornets, Nets, Hawks and Raptors, spent last season with the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he averaged 13.4 points, 4.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds.