A decade later, Linsanity still captivates. And inspires.
It did that for Travon Free and Samir Hernandez, two filmmakers who won the Best Live-Action Short last year for “Two Distant Strangers.”
Now the pair have turned their attention to Linsanity and the impact of Jeremy Lin — on the basketball court, but more importantly off it. Their new feature-length project is called “38 at the Garden” and reflects on those two weeks when Lin captivated not just New York City and the sports world, but had a lasting impact on Asian Americans everywhere.
The film is set to debut on June 12 at the Tribeca Film Festival (around the time of the NBA Finals, which start 10 days earlier). You can see the trailer above.
This is one of the first projects for Golden State Entertainment, which was just launched by the Warriors and their ownership. Here is how Hernandez described the project, via Deadline.com.
“38 AT THE GARDEN tells the story of Jeremy’s ascent from anonymity to global superstardom and the cultural significance that he had and it continues to have for both Asian Americans and Asians globally.”
Lin added this quote:
“I’m really humbled that my story and journey has resonated and touched so many,” added Lin. Throughout that period of time in my life and since, there has always been an underlying narrative about race, and my hope is that this documentary challenges Asian American stereotypes and can serve as a continued source of pride and inspiration, especially during an unprecedented rise of Asian-American hate and injustice.”
Lin played in nine NBA seasons, spending time with the Lakers, Hawks, Nets, Warriors, Rockets and Hornets.
However, everyone remembers his time with the New York Knicks. Linsanity started when, due to injuries, coach Mike D’Antoni was forced to not only play Lin but turn him loose — and Lin and the Knicks went on a run. “Linsanity” captured the imagination of a city, and he dropped 38 on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, leading to the documentary’s name. For two weeks, Madison Square Garden was alive in a way it too rarely has been for Knicks games in the past couple of decades.
Lin has been out of the league since the 2018-19 season, when he was a reserve guard for the Hawks averaging 10.7 points per game while shooting 34.7% from 3. After that Lin played in China — where he was a massive star and one of the best scorers in the Chinese Basketball Association — but gave that up last year to suit up in the G-League, looking to get back to the NBA. Lin drew headlines when speaking out against the rash of crimes against Asians in America — saying a G-League player calling him “coronavirus” on the court — but while he had some pretty good games for Santa Cruz in the G-League bubble, he never got a call-up. So he has turned his focus back to playing overseas.
Still, he is an inspiration. And this new documentary should be fascinating.