Say what you will about NBA players competing in Pro-Am games. Sure, the competition isn’t up to par with what these guys see on an average night in the association, but Jeremy Lin had a pretty impressive performance in San Fran, despite the fact that his competition might have been a little less than he’s accustomed to during the season.
Here is a video of the game, and Jeremy Lin going off for 45-points.
Call it “LINSANITY”, if only for just one night. Jeremy Lin was the best player on the court, and he took full advantage by breaking down the defense and living at the basket. This video shows of some pretty impressive moves by guys not names Jeremy Lin, but the Houston Rockets’ guard stole the show, looking like the Jeremy Lin from his Knicks’ days.
Lin averaged 13.4 points, 6.1 assists and 3 rebounds per game last season with the Rockets, playing beside James Harden. The Rockets gave their fans a playoff birth, and this young team has a lot of potential moving forward.
As we wrap up the 2012 calendar year, it’s only appropriate to look back on the year that was in sports. Plenty of new faces came into the sports world and took it by storm, ranging from college players turned professional, professional players who broke through, international icons coming to America, and even a college basketball player who grew over half a foot, transforming from a point guard to a power forward.
With all of this in mind, here are the top 10 new faces that bursted onto the scene during 2012.
10. Yu Darvish
There was plenty of hype surrounding Yu Darvish’s arrival to America and the MLB, and he did not disappoint.
The 6’5″ starting pitcher from Japan was one of the key factors to the success of the Texas Rangers, as he posted a 16-9 record with a 3.90 ERA and an impressive 221 strikeouts.
The Rangers will be looking to Darvish for pitching stability for years to come. Hopefully, for the Rangers and their fans, he won’t turn out to be the next version of Daisuke Matsuzaka. For now, it looks like they’ve got a pretty special player.
9. Bryce Harper
It seems like the Washington Nationals have finally turned their team around, as they finally made the playoffs this season. Their strength was in their pitching, including their stud Stephen Strasburg, but the arrival of youngster Bryce Harper was huge for the franchise.
There has been plenty of talk and hype surrounding Harper since he was made the number one overall pick in the MLB draft.
His rookie season was certainly a good one, as the 20 year-old posted a .270 batting average, 22 homers, 59 RBIs, .340 OBP, 18 steals, and a WAR of 5.0.
2012 was just a preview of what we could be seeing from the Nationals in the future, and it looks bright with Bryce Harper helping lead the way.
8. Alfred Morris
With RGIII on the team, many people don’t realize that there is another Redskins rookie that is having a spectacular year.
After being selected in the 6th round by Washington and eventually winning the starting running back job, Morris has done nothing but impress. He has over 1400 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, and has been one of the biggest waiver-wire pickups in fantasy football leagues nationwide.
There are few running backs in the league today that handle the rushing attack almost single-handedly, and Morris is one of them. He seemingly came out of nowhere, and has been an absolute steal for Mike Shanahan. Redskins fans have a lot to look forward to with RGIII and Alfred Morris.
7. J.J. Watt
Many believed that the Texans would take a massive hit at the loss of Mario Williams to the Bills. J.J. Watt thought otherwise.
Watt has filled the void admirably, with a whopping 20.5 sacks through just 16 games. There is talk of him being a legitimate candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, which would certainly be well deserved.
Prior to 2012, who actually knew who J.J. Watt was? Now, it seems like every NFL fan knows Watt. And offensive coordinators hate playing against him.
6. Victor Cruz
An undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts, Victor Cruz seemingly came out of nowhere. In no time, he was the number one receiver on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Cruz is already very popular amongst NFL fans, particularly for his salsa dance touchdown celebration. He cracked 1,500 receiving yards in his first season with the Giants, and has surpassed the 1,000 mark again this season.
The emergence of Cruz as a bona fide wide receiver allowed the Giants to lose Mario Manningham in free agency to the San Francisco 49ers. Any time you can go from undrafted free agent to Pro Bowler as quick as he has, you’re surprising a lot of people.
5. Johnny Manziel
If you’re a freshman quarterback and have already won the Heisman Trophy, you’re probably having a pretty good year.
Case in fact: Johnny Manziel. The freshman quarterback for Texas A&M posted great numbers in 2012, including 24 touchdowns, just 8 interceptions, over 3400 yards, and a completion percentage over 68%.
He’ll certainly have a lot to live up to for the rest of his college career, however long that might be, as he’s already won the top individual award before he can legally buy a beer. Safe to say this guy has a bright future.
4. Jeremy Lin
Linsanity was ridiculously crazy, and I really can’t remember anything like it happening during my time as a fan. Sure, some of it had to do with the hype machine that is the New York media, but it was still a lot of fun.
With Carmelo Anthony injured and severe point guard struggles, then coach Mike D’Antoni called Jeremy Lin’s number. At that point, Lin was a Harvard graduate, a D-League graduate, and basically a nobody at the NBA level. Lin flourished in D’Antoni’s point guard pick-and-roll system, and the Knicks showed some life for the first time all season. He was putting up unbelievable numbers for someone who nobody had ever heard of, and that actually includes turnovers, as well.
An injury ended Lin’s season and career as a Knick. Mike D’Antoni was replaced with Mike Woodson, and the Knicks were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the eventual champion Miami Heat. Jeremy Lin left New York in free agency for the Houston Rockets, where he now shares the backcourt with fellow newcomer James Harden.
Crazy how things can change, huh?
3. Mike Trout
Any time you’re a rookie and in the conversation for MVP, you’re probably a pretty special player.
The MVP race between Trout and Cabrera was the perfect example of the division between sabermetric fans and the more traditional fans. The sabermetric crowd thought Trout should win MVP with no discussion, while the others believed that winning the triple crown is an automatic MVP bid.
Any way you slice it, Mike Trout is an absolute stud in every aspect of the game. The Angels certainly landed a huge player in their rookie. Imagine the trio that will be Trout, Pujols, and the newly signed Josh Hamilton? It’s a scary thought, and a thought that AL managers will be having nightmares over.
2. Anthony Davis
In 2012, Anthony Davis won the NCAA Championship with Kentucky, won a gold medal with the USA national team, and was selected number one overall in the NBA Draft. Does it get a whole lot better than that?
In high school, Davis stood a bit over 6 feet tall, and was looking for a scholarship as a guard. Thanks to a massive growth spurt, he now stands at 6’10″. During his only year at Kentucky, he took the college basketball world by storm, averaging a ridiculous 4.7 blocks per game, along with 14 points and 10 rebounds on over 62% shooting.
Although he didn’t play much on Team USA, he still won a gold medal. Add that to the national championship and being picked number one overall in the NBA Draft, and you can see that it was quite the year for Mr. Davis.
1. Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson
It really didn’t feel right not to group these guys together.
Individually, all three have been superb all season long. The notion that rookie quarterbacks can’t succeed has began to be disproved as of recent years, and this trio is playing a big part.
Luck has taken over for Peyton Manning and led the Colts to the playoffs. Russell Wilson, a third round pick, battled and won the starting quarterback job in training camp and has been sensational ever since. Robert Griffin III took over a miserable Redskins team only to be playing for the division in Week 17 against the Cowboys. Yes, all three of these rookie quarterbacks could be in the playoffs this year.
These three very well could be the face of the NFL sooner rather than later. And 2012 was just the beginning for them.
-Mark Evans, Assistant Manager/Editor of Content
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Who can forget “Linsanity” last NBA season, when Jeremy Lin took the league by storm as a member of the New York Knicks. Who can forget “Tebowmania” last NFL season , when Tim Tebow took over as the starter for the Denver Broncos and led them to the divisional round of the playoffs.
What do Lin and Tebow have in common? Not only are both devout Christians, but also list Christian rapper Lecrae as a source of inspiration. Aside from those two, many other athletes and teams have enlisted Lecrae not only for inspiration, but for chapel and prayer services before games.
I am a huge Lecrae fan myself, and I love seeing guys turn away from the mainstream garbage we call rap today and embrace an artist like Lecrae. When people hear “Christian rap”, they are sometimes automatically turned off because most Christian music is sappy and preachy. Well, Lecrae takes a different approach and people are taking notice. Lecrae has responded tremendously to this outpouring of support from pro athletes and has answered the bell, saying:
“I tend not to call it Christian hip-hop because I think it would be limited to being only for Christians. I think it’s responsible hip-hop. I think it paints a broad picture of life, and it doesn’t just limit life to just kind of instinctual pleasure, power pleasure and possession. You see [the 30 for 30"documentary] ‘Broke’ and see all these guys who are losing funds. It’s a reality that’s happened for them, but there’s a lot of baggage that comes with that. And guys are looking for answers and are looking for wisdom in a lot of areas that a lot of people aren’t giving to them. And so that’s one of the things that I look to do. When I get an opportunity, I try to do chapel services for some of the pro players, just to try to give them reality.”
Jeremy Lin in particular sought advice from Lecrae while he was trying to adjust to his overnight fame. Lecrae was able to provide Lin with excellent insight:
“What Jeremy talked to me about was just the reality of everyone kind of pulling at him, and a lot of people expecting him to make decisions that would please them. He’s kind of a reserved kid, a reserved young man, and it’s not really his demeanor to be all in the mix like that, and to be pulled every which way.”
Aside from Lin and Tebow, Lecrae also says he is close with golfer Bubba Watson and also got a chance to hang with members of the Arizona Cardinals after they attended a concert during his “Unashamed Tour 2012: Come Alive” in Phoenix.
Lecrae’s new album “Gravity” debuted at #1 on the Christian charts as well as on ITunes. He owned the secular rap charts for two weeks following the release of the album, and this confirms that his music is not only for non-Christians.I can personally attest to how inspiring and uplifting Lecrae’s music is. He paints realistic portraits of life that many can relate to, so I can definitely see why guys in the spotlight have latched on to his music and message. I hope this is a movement towards a new direction in society, where the nonsense we call mainstream rap takes a backseat to responsible hip-hop.
When will it end with Metta World Peace? Whether it was “inadvertent” or on purpose, it doesn’t look good that Peace keeps having these altercations. Even Dikembi Mutombo didn’t have this many “accidents’ with his sharp, swinging elbows. The irony in all of this? It happened to the new team James Harden is playing for, which also was the team Peace played for prior to coming to the Lakers. We all remember the nasty elbow Peace had on Harden last year, well this year it was against Harden’s teammate, Jeremy Lin.
Check it out, as it appears that Lin may have received a small cut near his eye.
Jeremy Lin approached his recently traded teammate, Jeremy Lamb, in the correct fashion after a trade for James Harden sent the rookie to Oklahoma City before he could even suit up for a regular season game in a Rockets’ uniform. Only problem was, Lin called the wrong rookie, via BlackSportsOnline.
Lin apparently dialed undrafted rookie point guard, Scott Machado, instead of Lamb and gave the youngster quite the scare.
“I was like, ‘Hey, it’s Scott, it’s not Jeremy,’ ” Machado told Ultimate Rockets of his conversation with Lin. “Did you hear something about me?’ I was all nervous. He was like, “Oh, I apologize, I apologize.’ It all worked out.”
Seems like Lin may have had some confusion with his cell phone, or perhaps the Rockets’ new franchise point guard just wasn’t very aware of what was taking place.
Jeremy Lin, who will be on the cover of November’s issue of GQ, had a few admissions that Rockets’ fans and brass probably aren’t too thrilled with in the magazine that will hit newsstands today. In the article, Lin says he believes his Asian heritage perhaps worked against him in the Knicks not wanting to match Houston’s offer.
“There’s a lot of perceptions and stereotypes of Asian-Americans that are out there today,” Lin said. “I’m going to have to play well for a longer period of time for certain people to believe it, because I’m Asian. And that’s just the reality of it.”
Lin also would go on to say that he not only wanted the Knicks to match Houston’s offer, but retire a Knick.
“You can’t ask for a city or a fan base to embrace somebody more than they embraced me,” Lin said in a 4,300-word piece hitting newsstands today. “I know it’s kind of silly to talk about it with only two years under my belt in the league, but going in before free agency, I was like, ‘I want to play in front of these fans for the rest of my career.’ I really did.“I really wanted to play in front of the Madison Square Garden fans for the rest of my career, because they’re just unbelievable.”
“The Rockets thought I was going to be a Knick,” Lin said. “They told me when I signed. We think it’s an 80 to 95 percent chance of that happening.’’
Lin told GQ he was forced to return all of his Knicks gear and has no memorabilia left — except for Linsanity shirts fans had given him.