Numerous film characters come to mind when one thinks about Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks point guard who has overcome doubters and skeptics to lead his team on a seven-game winning streak. Lin and his "Linsanity" conjures “Invincible” protagonist Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), coaching at a Philadelphia high school before living his dream as an Eagles wide receiver. “Hoosiers,” the story of a small-town Indiana high school that goes on an improbable run to the state championship, floats to the top of the list too.
And of course there’s “Rudy,” the movie about an undersized college student who one day gets to take the field for his beloved Fighting Irish.
But watching Lin over the past couple of weeks, it’s become clear there’s only one cinematic figure to whom he should be compared: Neo from “The Matrix.”
PHOTOS: Absolute Lin-sanity!
Lin has felt it his entire life, this sense that there’s something wrong with the world. He didn’t know what it is, but it was there, like a splinter in his mind. He just couldn’t do anything about it, relegated, as he was, to the drudgery of a banal and unrewarding existence (a place with the Golden State Warriors).
Then a man, a Morpheus, came along. Mike D’Antoni didn’t care what those robots around the league wanted him to believe. He only saw Lin’s talent, his goodness. So he anointed him a savior. The oracle, Clyde Frazier, did too.
Lin swallowed what D’Antoni fed him. He began to believe, and he began to evolve. He fought off opponents, opponents who were bigger, stronger, swifter. Lin battled to overcome an unfeeling system that seemed to exist only to keep him and his kind down, fighting the skeptical coaches who kept popping back up again every time he thought he’d vanquished them. Most of the people in this matrix weren't ready to be unplugged; inured and dependent on the system, they only fought to protect it. So Lin fought harder.
Lin found allies. Landry Fields was a crucial Link, lending his unconditional support (or at least a couch). David Lee was rock solid, a Tank. And Amar’e Stoudemire, at first cautious, soon came to complete the Trinity. These men were Lin's saviors, his own personal Jesus Christs.
A Sports Illustrated writer once said that Lin has shown “seeds of self-doubt.” Don’t worry, Jeremy, Neo had them too; he was reluctant to believe that he was the One. You have to let it all go, Jeremy. Fear, doubt and disbelief. Free your mind. Because fate is a powerful animal. It picks the special ones no matter their confidence level. And once it does, you can’t kill them with bullets, just like you can’t double-team destiny.
Photo: (left) Jeremy Lin of the Knicks. Credit: Chris Chambers/Getty Images. (right) Keanu Reeves as Neo in "The Matrix." Credit: Warner Bros.