1. Jeremy Lin
I don’t watch basketball with the intention of feeling sad. Generally, I watch it because it’s fun and I like saying “wow” every 45 seconds.
Jeremy Lin got 20 more minutes than Gordon Hayward did in his first game of the 2017 season. He had 18 points and four assists. He was playing well.
The Brooklyn Nets were supposed to be better this year than they were in 2016. Most conversations to that effect made the points of “They have no reason to tank,” and “D’Angelo Russell could use a new environment,” and “Allen Crabbe is good despite his contract.” A spot or two down on that list was “And they’ll have Jeremy Lin back!” (That exclamation point was my own addition.)
All these points were true for exactly 25 minutes and 15 seconds.
Jeremy Lin jumped up in the air, but his leg wasn’t ready for gravity to take him back down. This time around, there was no gruesome visual to avoid. Lin went to the ground, seemed confused for a bit, then smacked the floor exclaiming “I’m done.” This may have been just as hard to see as Hayward’s twisty foot. I don’t know. I don’t want to know enough to compare.
After months of recovery to get himself back on the court, Lin earned a few quarters of play. Then his season was done. He knew it, and had the privilege of coming to grips with that knowledge in front of the world on live TV. It tore my heart out.
These things happen, I suppose. I suppose they’re going to happen again.