Be Prepared to Play

Led by historic performances, point guard Jeremy Lin has traveled from nonexistence to recognition around the world in just a matter of days. He has become one of the biggest stories sports has ever seen.

But this isn’t about his game.

Lin’s underdog heroics paced the New York Knicks, an organization plagued by underachievement over the last decade, to seven straight victories and a universal state of “linsanity.”

But this isn’t about the team.

This is about something much greater – being prepared the moment you are finally recognized.

This is about us all.

We all envision long-term career aspirations. Some of us desire to become journalists, while others aspire to become entrepreneurs or entertainers. The list is never-ending, but far too often, opportunities pass us by because we are unprepared for their arrival.

We live believing that these opportunities are plentiful when they are just the opposite. We express daily how badly we want to become medical doctors yet hesitate the moment a hospital calls about a residency opening because we’re having a bad hair day.

The odds of becoming a player in the NBA are at least one in a million, and Lin never took that statistic lightly.

The Harvard graduate has been overlooked his entire life. College recruiters ignored him, and the NBA refused to draft him. Upon entering the NBA undrafted, the developmental organizations of the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets chose to cut him.

After being claimed off waivers by the Knicks, Lin received his big break on Feb. 4 when he was given a chance to compensate for the absence of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

What happened next indicated just how prepared Lin was for his opportunity.

To everyone’s surprise, he posted an improbable 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists against the New Jersey Nets during his first NBA start.

Beginners luck? I think not.

Lin dominated the next three games, becoming the first player to score at least 20 points and seven assists during his first four starts. He recorded a total of 109 points during that span, the most since the merger between the American Basketball Association and NBA in 1977.

But again, this story is far bigger than statistics. When Lin crossed paths with opportunity, he was determined to make the most of it. For that, his name is now a household catch phrase and lives forever in record books.

As Lin’s remarkable story resonates worldwide, we need to take it for all that it is and learn from it.

Picture this: The game is tied at 87 points, there are 14 seconds remaining in regulation, and the ball is in your hands. Will you rise to the moment? Or will you fold under pressure?