jlin is NOT EVEN CLOSE to Tim Tebow’s impact

This is my own response to my original posting Is Jeremy Lin the next Tim Tebow for Basketball?

I had one week to reflect on this.  One week of the American Sports World taking this to new heights.  One week of Taiwanese flags flying all over MSG stadium.  To assess any situation objectively, we need to <PAUSE> and look at it with objectivity.

For this past week or so, with all the heights and drama, we now see JLIN on the front cover of Sports Illustrated.

I love the story lines.  I root for Jlin (even against the Lakers).  This is what every kid in American needs to have ingrained in their work ethics.  Be coach-able, be persevering, be humble.  The blue-collar middle class should look up to this stud, because he is what we dream of… Work hard enough, you’ll get your chance.  I applaud this because it is a value I hold dear…. BUT HE IS NOT TEBOW, not yet.

After 1 week, I was trying to notice something different. I was looking to see where the GOSPEL would sneak in.  I was looking to see if he would bring FAITH and SPORTS into the same conversation.  As a devout Christian, I wanted him to give credit to a bigger cause.  I was waiting for him to be TEBOW… where he undeniably gives credit and shares his love and compassion to the un-reached people of this world.  I was waiting for him to use the STAGE of STARDOM to unleash God’s message of hope.  This is why Tebow was controversial.  This is why you see stories written on Tebow’s legacy by famous sports writers like Rick Reily’s “Believing in Tim Tebow”.  It’s his work off the field for the LORD that caught the world by surprise.

So my answer to my blog…. NO – not even close.  Not Yet.  Good, but not close…  I pray that his story one day will bring hope to a world that doesnt need more “success” stories, but more “Gospel” stories.

Video: Jlin story from NBA.COM

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Comments

  1. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “I pray that his story one day will bring hope to a world that doesnt need more “success” stories, but more “Gospel” stories.”

    I think Jeremy Lin wants the same thing too, praise God!

  2. ondat says:

    i think it would help to qualify what you mean by “impact”. i think you mean how direct and open he is with the gospel – specifically the name of Jesus Christ. Tebow, at almost every interview, will say at the start, “first and foremost, i want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. JLin, at his interviews, will thank his teammates and coaches and the fans first….and if you keep asking and probing, he will thank “God”….but he does not use the words “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. those six words form the gospel in a nutshell – we need a savior, we need to commit to a Lord, and that is one specific God — Jesus Christ. and that is exclusive….the narrow road….and to much of the world, very offensive.

    jlin has not yet really offended anyone like tebow has from a Christian perspective….there are many other Christian pro-athletes, and more share their witness like Jlin than like Tebow.

    this is not meant to criticize JLin….my witness is more like his than like Tebow’s. the neat thing about Tebow is that he is so bold, and he is an example for people like me that being bold for the gospel – though it will bring haters – is what God calls us to be. at the same time, JLin’s more subtle approach may also lead to open doors that the more in your face approach may not reach.

    “I pray that his story one day will bring hope to a world that doesnt need more “success” stories, but more “Gospel” stories.”

    i pray the same for you, kevin, and for me.

  3. Lucas Kwong says:

    It’s important to remember that the metrics by which we measure “impact” are ultimately defined by God, not humans. Lin’s understated faith is, itself, a testimony to the fact that Christians come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, I’d say that his willingness to let his sportsmanship and skill speak for itself is going to reach New Yorkers in a way that Tebow can’t.

    I’d also contend that, for many non-Christians, the words “my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” aren’t invested with the same theological meaning that they may have for Christians who close read athletes’ religious statements. Even for me, it comes off as bland Christianese. We need new words, words that fascinate and provoke and stimulate in the manner of Jesus’ parables…and while I don’t expect JLin to start spouting allegorical short stories, I’m glad that the approach he takes to articulating his belief is slightly different.

  4. knguyen says:

    Brother Ondat and Lucas, thank you for your perspectives on the matter of being different in approach. I wouldn’t dare say that JLin doesn’t love God or even emphatic about him… my previous blog acknowledges this and even applauds him for that, so I wish what our friend “Truth Unites… and Divides” – more gospel stories.

    I do want us to bring it back to the original comparisons that I wrote previously, which ESPN and every other major media has brought comparisons to TIM TEBOW. Do we talk about Tim Tebow because of performance first, then faith? or does his name come to the table because of his outspoken faith and service to community and common man. So then why is Jlin brought into the conversation and comparisons to Tim Tebow? Tim isnt Asian American. Tim wasnt undrafted. Tim didnt come from a reputable sports school. Heck, Tim won a Heisman Trophy and National Titles. Tim isnt even good as a performer. So why are there comparisons….

    I believe it is the Faith and Sports that tie in together that we want to highlight. And for that, I have not seen an IMPACT on this part of his overall repertoire…. YET. This is the caveat. I have no doubt as the season goes on, we will see some hints, but I am unsure subtle or vibrant. For Tebow – it has been consistent since his college years, through the NFL draft, through sitting on the bench, and to the win over Pitt Steelers. So why compare… I am enjoying the game of a good bball player from a no-name school, almost cut from the DBL. It;s a great story…. but I cannot compare it (yet) with the same IMPACT as Tim Tebow in sports and faith…. Different ball game.

  5. ondat says:

    kevin, thanks for honing in on a specific point about jlin and tebow. and i agree with your assessment as to tebow’s impact on sports and faith being greater than jlin’s so far. but that leads me to a question – why is tebow’s impact on sports and faith greater? what is it about tebow that has been “consistent since his college years, through the NFL draft, through sitting on the bench, and to the win over Pitt Steelers”, that we haven’t seen in jlin since his college years, through the NBA/DBL, and now on the knicks?

    as i read more about jlin, i am finding out more and more about his testimony and witness off the court (ex. he has a foundation: http://jeremylinfoundation.org). but what is different between his life and tebow’s, as it pertains to sports and faith?

    i think it is the fact that tebow mentions the name of Jesus Christ quite frequently – basically whenever a microphone and camera are in his face – and even on his eye black at one of the the biggest stages in the sports world (ncaa national championship). add to that the fact that tebow prays publicly and in front of the cameras – i don’t think he prays for the sake of the cameras, but prayer is genuinely a big part of his life, and the cameras are there to catch it. many pro-athletes pray, but there is only one that resulted in a new word to describe it (tebowing).

    imagine if jlin prayed at the beginning of every game (instead of that ritual he does with fields)? or if he got down and prayed after hitting that game winning shot in toronto? then his faith would start to be more public….and i think he would start to become more polarizing.

    i am not suggesting that jlin do these things….and i am not suggesting tebow stop doing what he is doing. i am just wondering – what would it look like for jlin to have a similar impact on sports and faith as tebow?

    and how about me, in my day job as a salesman? it boils down to this – how do i be bold for the gospel, so that i make an impact in faith and whatever i do (unfortunately for me, it is not sports)? how public should my faith be to the general public? add a verse at the bottom of every quote i send out? tell my customers “God bless you” at the end of a call? write john 3:16 on my business card? 🙂

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