Last month, a long-form feature in The Atlantic called “The Silicon Valley Suicides” delved into a troubling trend affecting Jeremy Lin‘s hometown of Palo Alto, California: the fact that local teenagers have been taking their own lives at a rate four times the national average. The Charlotte Hornets point guard knows all too well the immense psychic pressure high school students in that area face on a daily basis, because he was one of them not too long ago.
In a recent interview will Bill Littlefield of the Boston NPR radio program “Only a Game,” Lin talked about both his personal experience of the daily academic grind required to gain admission to the most prestigious Ivy League universities, as well as two separate friends of his who tragically succumbed to the burden of those expectations.
His own academic and career trajectory – from not getting into Stanford (his first option), to being written off early in his NBA career, to Linsanity and all the good and bad that has come with it – has given him a unique perspective that he hopes can ultimately offer comfort to young folks in his hometown bearing the weight of that pressure to succeed:
I would say when everything happened the way it did in New York. I remember how excited I was. And it just seemed like that was everything and more than I had ever dreamed of, but I remember in so many ways it just turned into more and more goals for myself. It was like, “Alright, well, now I have to live up to the hype.”
And then I think the opposite as well. I’ve had some tough experiences as well, and you kinda look back and you realize, “Man, I can’t believe I allowed that to have such a strong effect over me.” A lot of it is fleeting.
If anyone understand the fleeting nature of success, it’s Lin. His miraculous season with the Knicks feels like a lifetime ago, and his play in the intervening years has carried with it the tinge of disappointment in the eyes of many. But Lin is not only finding new life with the Hornets this season; he’s gaining a healthier outlook on his career that is a good model for not only fans in hometown, but around the globe, as well.
(Via Only a Game)