Undrafted. Unwanted. Unwavering.

If you were semi-conscious a couple of years ago you no doubt heard about Jeremy Lin and his meteoric rise onto the top of the NBA stage. An undrafted free agent who couldn’t crack a rotation, Lin was brought into a Knicks game one fateful night and the next couple of weeks were some of the most exciting in sports.

As a committed Knicks fan who had witnessed this remarkable stretch I can attest: it was awesome. Each successive game played out like the capper to a Disney movie. It got to the point where Carmelo Anthony was being asked if he could fit in with Lin’s game, not the other way around. As a bonus, Lin appeared to be pretty cool kid, humble, affable and decent. It truly wasn’t something you could script any better.

Now here is a crowd-sourced documentary looking at his story and there’s plenty of material to work with. The director gets solid access to Lin, his family, his friends and his coaches. They trace his rise to pro ball prominence from the very start, tracking his love of the game as a small child, through a successful high school campaign, to his years in Harvard and then ultimately the long and tortured path to the NBA hardwood.

It’s really a nicely made documentary and feels true to Lin as a person. An outspoken Christian, Lin and his faith get plenty of exposure in the film (heck, the “T” in Linsanity is a cross). What especially resonates is Lin’s honesty in the struggles to make it as a professional; the brutal mercenary days in the D league. The inspirational moments of his story, from the time he checked into at fateful Knicks game to his face-off with Kobe Bryant are deservingly hyped up and rendered with verve. I don’t know how the filmmakers secured the necessary NBA rights, but I’m glad they did; the game footage adds a lot.

There is a caveat to all of this; the documentary stops before the bizarre next chapter in his career, when the Knicks and Lin parted ways in confusing fashion. Houston had offered a “poison pill” contract that was so back-loaded the Knicks would be in luxury tax hell and the team let him walk, much to the consternation of the fan base. Subsequently, Lin had a bumpy first year in Houston, which he later admitted was connected with the pressure to perform. It’s not fairy tale grist, but I think there was more than enough drama to delve into.

Still, despite Lin never quite turning into a superstar (currently he’s an above-average second unit point guard), his story is a great one and is worth your time.

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. 5.1 Dolby Figital, some behind-the-scenes footage and the Kickstarter reel.

The Verdict

I just read an article about an NFL player being sued because he pressured his girlfriend into an abortion. It’s nice to know there’s at least one good guy out there. Not guilty.

 

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