Lin embraces his first all-star weekend

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ORLANDO, Florida, February 25 – Jeremy Lin said Friday he is trying to embrace the moment and have fun with all the attention he is receiving during his first NBA all-star weekend.

Lin, who went from sleeping on his brother’s couch to reviving the struggling New York Knicks franchise in just a couple of weeks, spoke after competing in the NBA’s rising stars challenge game.

Lin shot one-of-four and finished with two points in just under nine minutes of playing time as his Team Shaq lost 146-133 to Team Chuck.

“Just to be here and to see the company and all the players that are here is just, it’s been unbelievable,” Lin said. “I’m just trying to take it all in and embrace it and enjoy it every step of the way.”

Lin threw a lob to Blake Griffin for a dunk in the first half but his overall numbers weren’t that impressive. Lin said he asked for limited floor time because he had played two games in as many nights for the Knicks heading into the rising stars game.

“The experience tonight was a lot of fun,” he said. “I didn’t play too much but I was glad to be a part of it. Just thankful to spend time with my teammate, Landry Fields, and guys like Blake Griffin.

“I didn’t want to play a back-to-back-to-back”

Lin said now that the contest was finished he hoped to use the break from the regular season schedule to get some rest and prepare for the remainder of the season.

“I am just trying to relax, recover and let some pains go away,” he said.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving scored 34 points, added nine assists and was eight-of-eight from three-point range to lead Team Chuck to victory. Irving was named MVP of the game.

Greg Monroe had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Tristan Thompson added 20 points to lead Team Shaq at Amway Center arena.

But even with all the star power in the game, Lin was getting the lion’s share of attention.

“I’m definitely surprised that people are talking about Lin-sanity or whatever,” Lin said.

“I think hopefully as the season progresses, it will go from that to the New York Knicks and hopefully the Knicks can win basketball games. Hopefully we can make a good push after the all-star break and people will start talking about the Knicks and not necessarily me.”

Lin, an Asian-American, helped the Knicks to a seven-game win streak but is coming off a modest performance in a 102-88 loss to Miami on Thursday. Miami’s smothering defence held Lin to just one-of-11 shooting.

Lin’s underdog story has touched basketball fans around the globe. Undrafted out of Harvard he was cut by two clubs late last year before he caught on with the Knicks, signing two days after Christmas.

He saw limited action in his first nine appearances in New York, averaging just six minutes a game.

Then he scored 25 points off the bench against New Jersey, 28 against Utah, 23 against Washington and went off for 38 points against Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers and the legend was born as the Knicks won nine of 10 games with Lin leading the charge.

Lin said his ethnicity might have had something to do with him going unnoticed by NBA teams for so long.

“I think it has something to do with it,” he said. “But I think just being Asian-American, obviously when you look at me, I’m gong to have to prove myself more so, again and again and again, and some people may not believe it.

“I know a lot of people say I’m ‘deceptively athletic’ and ‘deceptively quick,’ and I’m not sure what’s deceptive.

“But it could be the fact that I’m Asian-American. But I think that’s fine. It’s something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder. But I’m very proud to be Asian-American and I love it.”

The all-star weekend continues with the Slam Dunk Contest Saturday and then the 61st All-Star Game on Sunday.

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