A few months ago, New York Knicks had the chance to hold on to Jeremy Lin but chose not to match the offer coming from the Houston Rockets and the sensation of last season took his talents to Texas.
There was always going to be a lot of attention and anticipation around his return to Madison Square Garden with his new team. On Monday night, the wait was over when the Knicks hosted the Rockets at the Garden.Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.
Yet, he shone back in his old home, helping to propel the Rockets to a 109-96 win.
On Monday, the Taiwanese-American scored 22 points — just a little less than his 23.9 average between February 4 and 22 — and managed eight assists on Monday evening to hand the Knicks their first home loss of the season.
"It was a lot of fun playing out there," said Lin. "I think our team took a step in the right direction. For me, it was great to be back and it was a lot of fun to play on that court again."
The win and the performance were almost as sweet as the warm reception that Lin was given by a sell-out crowd at the Garden during the pre-game warm ups, though there were a few jeers as the game began.
That was exactly what famous Knicks fan Spike Lee said he would do.
Just before the game, Lin said that he had no regrets about leaving for Texas.
“Everything happens for a reason. It all happened the way it was supposed to and going into the summer I thought I'd be coming back to New York, but everything happens for a reason and there's no hard feelings either way. I'm in a different place in my life.”
Lin spent some of the off-season holding coaching clinics in Taiwan where he was greeted as a huge star and now seems accustomed to all the attention. Maybe a return to the Big Apple was a nice reminder of a special time in his career — he was the most searched for sports figure on Google in 2012 and appeared on the covers of successive Sports Illustrated magazines — but also a reminder that he doesn’t have that “Insanity” to deal with on a daily basis any longer.
"It will always have a special place no matter how long I play because that was the beginning for me and anytime you have a stretch like that you'll remember it forever," Lin said. "The easy part of me is just to make sure I don't try to live up to that. As long as I do that I'm not really worried too much about anything else. I don't think anyone from the Rockets organization is expecting me to recreate anything and I'm not either."
You would have to be a robot not to enjoy returning to your old stomping ground and stomping on your former team that decided to let you go. Perhaps now that that is out of his system, and the media’s too, maybe Jeremy Lin can focus on his game and the Houston Rockets.