For reasons unbeknownst to me the American media has a strong propensity to compare things. All things. All the time. Whether you’re watching election coverage, an NBA game, or America’s Next Top Model (I see you, Tyra) there are constantly self-proclaimed experts breaking down the action via comparison. Perhaps it’s simply that comparing what you are watching at the time, to an event that has already happened, is merely the easiest form of analysis. Frankly, I don’t know. What would a guy writing for The Diss know about good sports analysis anyway?
Even though #Linsanity hit a bump in the road last night thanks to a stellar performance turned in by Deron Williams, I figured I’d keep the topic relevant with a semi-rant about how absurd these Tebow comparisons have become.
I’m willing to concede the following three similarities between Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin:
1) They are both male.
2) Faith plays a large role in their lives.
3) They are both examples of underdog stories.
and…that’s about it. Dudes who love God and defied the odds. If you took a poll of all NBA and NFL players I’m confident at least 90% of those polled would also have these three traits in common.
Just because these two sports related underdog stories came about at the same time doesn’t make them alike, just as two independent movies hitting it big at the box office at the same time doesn’t make them alike.
When Tim Tebow was working out before the NFL Draft in 2010 all of the experts were in agreement that the kid was not cut out for the league. His throwing motion was too slow, he wouldn’t be able to run the ball as effectively, yadda yadda yadda. Essentially - the skill set that the experts thought an NFL quarterback needed to posses in order to be successful, he didn’t have.
Tebow tried to tweak a few things in his game to conform to what most scouts and experts were saying, but at the end of the day he continued to play football his way. He threw the ball essentially the same way, ran just as much as he did in college, and defied the odds by winning football games. He was an underdog not by changing his game, but by turning the classic pass-first offense upside down.
When Jeremy Lin was working out before the NBA draft in 2010 all of the experts were of the opinion that the kid was just too small to play in the association. He played very well in The Ivy League for four years, demonstrating that he had a strong basketball IQ and floor general mentality, but when it came down to it his lack of size and inexperience with playing against high level competition could not be ignored.
We all know the rest of the story by now. The kid got a look in summer league, had a small chance with Golden State, and finally hit it big in New York. Did Jeremy change the way an NBA point guard is supposed to play the game? Absolutely not. He did exactly the opposite of that (and of what Tim Tebow did). He worked as hard as he possibly could to master all the things a point guard is historically supposed to excel at in the NBA. He improved his handles, learned how to execute the pick-and-roll at the highest level, and mastered (well maybe that word is a bit too strong) how to effectively and efficiently run an offense.
So there you have it. Two stories that have relatively nothing in common besides that fact that guys that weren’t supposed to win, won. I implore ESPN to stop with the nonsensical comparisons and instead focus on our Jeremy Lin Nickname Bracketology.