Jeremy Lin hasn't played in the NBA since 2019 when he won a championship with the Toronto Raptors, and now into his 30s with an extensive history of injuries, it's starting to look as though he never will again. Lin stoked those very flames in a recent tweet in which he seemingly implied that his career was over.
"I didn't get it all done, but I have no regrets," Lin wrote . "I gave my ALL and hold my head high. As for what's next, I trust what God has in store for me … Thanks to everyone whose rolled with me on this journey. I love you all."
But on Thursday, Lin appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and confirmed that his career is not over. At least not officially. Lin acknowledged that he had done all he can, but that the NBA may no longer be interested in him, and now it's time to pass the torch to a new generation of young stars.
"It wasn't my official retirement, but it was definitely something where I'm kind of realizing that there's not much else I can do to prove that I belong in the NBA," Lin said. "Every challenge that I've been given, every ask of me I've done and I've performed well, so for me, it's kind of realizing, hey, it doesn't really matter what I do.
"There's not much more I can do to earn a spot or a chance to fight for a spot. So that was kind of my way of saying, 'I don't think this door is opening, I think it's closed,' and that it's kind of passing the torch to the next generation. In many ways, honestly, it hurts. I feel like I do deserve it, but it's also a celebration in many ways. But hey, it's time for the next generation. There are gonna be plenty of Asian-American players that are much better than me down the road."
Lin spent the 2019-20 season in China playing for the Beijing Ducks. He averaged 22.3 points on over 49 percent shooting there, and carried that success into the G League this season. In nine games for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Lin averaged just under 20 points on over 50 percent shooting. But those impressive numbers haven't translated into NBA offers, and while players like Anderson Varejao have returned to the NBA in their late 30's recently, such signings are usually made for locker room purposes rather than basketball reasons. Even if Lin makes a roster, earning real minutes in a rotation is another battle entirely.
If he wants to continue playing, he should attract no shortage of interest internationally. He remains one of the game's biggest international stars thanks to his remarkable run with the New York Knicks, so fans will always want to see him play. If his NBA career is over, Lin will be remembered as a trailblazer among Asian-American players. He is best known for a single stretch of stardom, but the fact that he stuck in the league for almost a decade as a consistently valuable player is arguably more impressive. Undrafted free agents out of Ivy League schools almost never have that kind of impact in the NBA. But Lin did, and whenever he chooses to retire officially, he'll do so as a basketball icon.