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Jeremy Lin talks the Hornets’ Playoffs return, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and a potential Sixth Man of the Year award

Point-guard Jeremy Lin spoke on a number of topics yesterday, during an international media call, including the Hornets’ Playoffs return, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and a potential Sixth Man of the Year award.

Q: The Hornets have secured a spot to return to the playoffs. If you look at the potential rivalries in the East, how do you see the team playing out in the postseason from what you guys have done during the regular season?

Jeremy Lin: I feel like for us, the thing that has kind of gotten us to this point is just unselfishness, team chemistry, and then I think playing off of our intelligence. I also think we have versatility and we have depth. Obviously, the thing that people say we’re missing, we don’t have like a LeBron James or a Steph Curry or like an elite shot-blocker or whatever, like a DeAndre Jordan or something like that. But we feel like, if we do it all together and if we all chip in, and we’re detailed in what we do and we play the right way, we feel like we have a chance to make some noise. And at the end of the day, I think that’s what’s gotten us to this point, is when we have five guys on the floor, we’re all playing together and we’re playing the right way.

Q: As a Harvard graduate, Silicon Valley could be a good place to start another career off the court. How do you relate yourself to the technology industry?

Jeremy Lin: Yeah, I mean, I think me being from the Bay Area and growing up in Silicon Valley, definitely there are ties, and I’m a lot more exposed to the tech boom as opposed to if I had grown up somewhere else. I feel like that’s something that I’ve dabbled in and continue to learn more about. I’ve gone to some of the events and learned some stuff and met with different people, just so I can learn more about it.

And I think the biggest thing I want to do is just to be able to use technology in a positive way. And so whether it’s ‘ed tech’ or impact investing or finding ways to help education or help children, underprivileged children through certain things, whether it’s an investment or a product or whatever, that’s kind of what I’m looking into right now. Obviously, I care a lot about my foundation, and I feel like when I’m done playing, one of the things I want to do is to make the world a better place. And there’s no better way than to really look into tech, because if you take a look around, society’s becoming extremely digital and it’s growing astronomically globally.

Q: You came from playing in a situation like playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. How different is it playing in a smaller market like Charlotte? And do you enjoy it more playing in a smaller market as compared to playing in bigger places like Houston and L.A.?

Jeremy Lin: I guess there’s pros and cons. I think obviously playing in a bigger market there might be more off-the-court opportunities or the fan base is going to be a lot more widespread or whatever. But I feel like me being in Charlotte came at a good time. I feel like our team last year in L.A., we were under a lot of public scrutiny, and I feel like being in Charlotte, I’ve been able to really enjoy the smaller market, and the people here are so nice and I’m able to walk up and down the street and kind of do whatever I want at any time, and that’s been comfortable. And so I’ve been really embraced by the Charlotte community, and I’ve really enjoyed this season.

Q: Everybody talks about your haircut. Do you have any special haircut for the playoffs?

Jeremy Lin: Yes, I think for my hair, the sides, I haven’t cut since All-Star break. I haven’t cut the top for, like, almost a year, but the sides I haven’t cut for quite a while, a couple of months. So I’m going to definitely cut the sides and I don’t know if it’s necessarily new, I mean, I’ve done it once before, but I’m going to go back to it, and I’m going to hope it looks a little better now that my hair is longer.

Q: People are wondering, how is Michael Jordan as an owner, and how is he to play for?

Jeremy Lin: You know, I think it’s true for most owners, they aren’t always around that often. They have a lot of other things they’re doing. And I will say, out of all the teams I’ve been on, Michael Jordan has been the most present owner of them all. Actually, [Golden State owner] Joe Lacob was up there, too. The positive is he’s a player himself, so he totally understands how players feel, their bodies. He understands how to talk to players, how to motivate players.

That’s just something that is so unique from an owner’s standpoint because a lot of times the owners, they might see things from a different lens, not having gone through or played in the NBA themselves. And to have the greatest player of all time be your owner – I mean, there’s been times where I’ve just gone to him and asked him for help or advice, just because I mean, why not? He’s like the best person in the world to ask for basketball advice. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Q: I read on websites that many fans and some analysts think you can be the competitor of the Sixth Man of the Year Award. How do you think about this?

Jeremy Lin: I think just whatever happens, happens. I’m not really that worried about it. And I think a couple of people have mentioned it to me. But you know, personally, if you ask me, do I think I’m going to win it? I don’t, but it really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m not really worried about that award at all. I think for us just to be able to be back in the playoffs after having missed it last year, that’s honestly what I’m really, really excited about.

Q: You’ve been a starter in a big market like New York, and now you’re going to be back in the playoffs after two years. What has the ride been like for you, and have you been able to enjoy it?

Jeremy Lin: Yes, I think for me, I’m just in a different place mentally, where I’m really able to enjoy everything. And I’ve been able to enjoy this season more than ever before, and I feel like a big reason why is just because I feel like God has taught me a lot, seriously, where it’s just – I’m not as obsessed with, ‘I have to accomplish this, this, or this,’ versus I’m more really just trying to enjoy every day and have the right mindset and live and play with joy.

And so I think, having said that, it is in a lot of ways comparing apples to oranges, because I’m just a different person mentally right now than I was three or maybe four years ago when I was in New York. Does that mean I don’t want to start or whatever? Every player wants to start. Every player wants to start and be the man and all that. There’s no question that’s me included. But I think there’s something special going on in Charlotte, and so for me to sacrifice, come off the bench and try to help this team win, I feel like it’s been rewarding.

Q: As a sneaker-focused media, we noticed that as the season proceeds, you took off the latest adidas Crazylight Boost and put a Crazyquick 2 Low from the past season again. Can you tell us about the choice of selecting sneakers and how do you like your relationship with adidas?

Jeremy Lin: I love my relationship with adidas. That’s been such a great endorsement for me, and I can’t even begin to express just how grateful I am for them. And yes, I’ve been sticking with the shoes I’ve been wearing for – let me see now, a few weeks. No, maybe longer, maybe a couple of months now. I just like them a lot. I like the way they feel, and we’ve been going on a run, and so I’m just rolling with those shoes.

I enjoy so many different kinds. The thing is, adidas has allowed me to really create and customize a lot of these shoes, and so whether it’s the Crazylight Boost or the Crazyquick 2, 2.5, or whatever it is, all different brands. I’ve been able to create and customize a lot of Charlotte Hornet colorways, and that’s been a lot of fun. I really enjoy the shoe design process.

Q: It’s possible that you go up against the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs. From one sixth-man guard to another, what do you think about Dennis Schroder and the Hawks in general?

Jeremy Lin: Oh, he’s a big-time player. I have a ton of respect for him, and what he’s done has been tremendous. And he’s one of those young, up-and-coming guys who, if he ever gets an opportunity to have a bigger role, you can bank on the fact that he’s going to take advantage of it because he’s so talented. And so if we do play him, I’m going to have my hands more than full trying to slow him down.

Q: At this time, it seems everybody’s talking about Kobe Bryant’s last game. So as a former teammate of his and a fan of the game, born in L.A., I just want to ask how would you comment on his influence on the younger generation of players, as well as the legacy to the game?

Jeremy Lin: Well, I feel like for me, growing up, you saw [Michael] Jordan revolutionize the game. And every kid from my generation’s favorite player was Jordan. And I think, if you fast-forward a few years, that’s probably the equivalent of what Kobe was to a lot of kids growing up who might be just a little bit younger than me, and even kids my age as well. You see a lot of guys in the league right now, the way they talk about him, it’s like, ‘Man, I watched you growing up, you were such a great player and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,’ and like you can tell just the amount of respect everybody has for him.

And I think for me, being able to play with him is something I’ll never forget. I think watching and observing the way that he approaches things, how mechanical and detailed he was about his whole regimen. it was awesome to see. I got to ask him a lot of questions, so that’s something that I’ll always remember. When I think about his season this year, I’m just happy he’s healthy, and I’m happy he’s been able to play, and I’m happy that he’s made it to the last game. I just hope he has a tremendous and awesome last game. And that’s very well-deserved for someone who’s had a career like him.

Watch the 2015-16 NBA Playoffs live on BT Sport or via NBA LEAGUE PASS at www.nba.tv.

Source: Pitch London
Image: Getty/NBA