By Tim Ellsworth
Jeremy Lin, the rookie whose surprise emergence has been the biggest story of the NBA season, underwent surgery April 2 to replace a torn meniscus in his left knee. He will likely miss the rest of the season but may be available if the Knicks advance deep into the playoffs.
“Praise God for a successful surgery!” Lin wrote on Twitter following the procedure. “Now on the road to recovery! Lets gooo. Much love to all the fans for your support and kind words.”
Lin was averaging 14.6 points and 6.1 assists per game when he was sidelined.
Following his surgery, Lin answered a number of questions from fans on his Facebook page about an array of topics. One fan asked Lin how he stayed humble.
“i struggle with pride everyday, but the one thing that i try to remind myself everyday is that im still a sinner no matter how many points/assists/win i get on the court,” Lin wrote in response. “Gods grace and the death/resurrection of his son Jesus Christ has given me salvation even though im not worthy of it.”
Prior to his surgery, Lin made headlines when he had lunch with former ESPN editor Anthony Federico, who was fired after he inadvertently wrote a headline that contained racist language.
“When I saw what I had done, I was devastated,” Federico told Baptist Press. “I used a sports cliché that describes the first time someone shows a weakness. I didn’t anticipate how people would apply racism to what I did.”
The gaffe cost Federico his job at ESPN (he has since found another position with better hours and better pay), but it didn’t cost him his faith. Federico said he relied on the Lord through the difficult days that included all kinds of hate mail and even death threats.
“It’s not up to us to ask ‘Why God?’ in the bad times,” Federico, a Roman Catholic, said. “We have to be as praiseful and cognizant of God in the bad times as we are in the good times. We know that God doesn’t change, but our circumstances change.”
It’s in their suffering that people most truly proclaim Jesus, Federico said, noting, “You develop and cultivate your faith in the good times, but you can rely on it in the bad.”
About a week after the incident, a family member of Lin’s e-mailed Federico, saying that Lin felt terrible about what had happened and didn’t believe Federico had intentionally insulted him. Federico said he wasn’t surprised when Lin reached out to him, because he knew that Lin is an outspoken Christian.
The two met for lunch in Manhattan on March 27. They discussed the headline situation briefly, with Federico explaining what had happened.
“And then the rest of the conversation was about basketball and Jesus Christ,” Federico said.
Federico, a big Knicks fan, said they discussed Lin’s knee injury and what was happening with the team. Through it all, Federico said he was impressed by Lin’s humility.
“He wasn’t an NBA superstar in that moment,” Federico said. “He was a brother in Christ. He was doing what Jesus would do — he was being Christ-like.” –Tim Ellsworth, editor of BPSports (www.bpsports.net) and director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.