Lin's Pastor Says His Faith Inspires Play
Host: Basketball sensation Jeremy Lin is in the national spotlight, after going from bench-warmer for the New York Knicks to leading the team in a series of big wins. The Palo Alto native is a devout Christian and his parents, who are Taiwanese, belong to Mountain View's Redeemer Bible Fellowship, the English language ministry of the Chinese Church in Christ. Lin's pastor, Stephen Chen, says while things may have changed dramatically in Lin's life recently, one thing remains the same--his quiet but intense Christian faith.
Mina Kim: Fans may be flocking to twenty three year-old basketball sensation Jeremy Lin but according to Stephen Chen his hometown pastor and mentor, Lin plays for an audience of one.
Chen: He attempts to play for his God, and to honor him and glorify him.
Kim: Chen is pastor of Redeemer Bible Fellowship, the English language ministry of the Chinese Church in Christ in Mountain View. Chen says he met Lin when Lin was in the eighth grade.
Chen: He must have been 5'2", I don't know 5'4" something like that, and I remember him saying one day I'm going to be over six feet and I'm going to play basketball, and going to dunk.
Kim: Lin's parents are Taiwanese engineers who are 5'6".
Chen: And so I asked him how are you going to do it and he said I'm going to drink milk every day, and I'm going to eat calcium pills everyday, and it's going to happen and sure enough he's over six feet tall and he's playing in the NBA.
NBA announcer: Lin likes the open floor, spinning, puts it up and banks it in sensational play for Jeremy Lin...
Kim: Lin has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, all ending in Knicks victories. And a common point he makes in interviews, besides to thank God, is that he didn't do it alone.
Lin: I wish that people would give a lot of the other players on this team a lot more credit, I think there's too much attention coming my way.
Kim: So how did Lin's faith figure in his do-or-die moment -- when he entered the starting lineup for the first time? Lin's pastor Stephen Chen says he was ready and explains it this way.
Chen: You know what, I think his genetic make-up, the way that god has knit him in his mother's womb, is that he's an athlete, and he takes pleasure in that way that God has made him.
Kim: Chen talked to Lin last week, just before Lin scored thirty-eight points against the Lakers.
Chen: Obviously, he's overwhelmed by a lot of people demanding his time, pulling him in a lot of different directions, he understands that at any moment he can go from hero to zero.
Kim: By one statistical analysis, that's not likely. Nate Silver of The New York Times looked at all of the 40 or so NBA players with streaks similar to Lin's and found that they usually enjoy long-term success.
But Chen says he's not worried about Lin if his success fades. He says Lin feels that whatever comes is part of God's plan.
Chen: One time people did show up at our church because they wanted autographs and pictures with Jeremy, but Jeremy would have nothing to do with it. He understood that our time together on Sundays was where God takes central place.
Kim: And already, Chen says, Lin's openness about his faith is inspiring other Asian-American youth to do likewise; something Chen says is not always easy in the Bay Area.
Chen: To be bold in declaring something like this, where one can be labeled as narrow-minded, it is hard.
Kim: Jeremy Lin plays again Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors.