Jeremy Lin recalls outplaying Kobe Bryant after feeling ‘slighted’ and ‘disrespected’ by Lakers legend: ‘I’m going for it tonight’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

At the height of the “Linsanity” movement that was propelled by the incredible play of former New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, a matchup versus the Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers became one for the ages.

In a February 2012 matchup between the two iconic franchises, Lin cooked the Lakers with a 38-point, seven-assist performance.

As Lin himself recalls, Bryant played a huge role in Lin’s dominant effort because he disrespected him prior to the game.

Lin recently spoke with The Daily Beast and divulged how Bryant’s words forced him to take his game to a different level.

“Yeah, for sure,” Lin said when Marlow Stern indicated that Bryant’s words kicked him into a different gear. “That’s a great way to describe it. I was already in the zone and had three good games, and I grew up being a [Golden State] Warriors fan in the Bay Area, so we did not like the Lakers and did not like Kobe. And then he extra-gassed me by what he’d said before the game. I felt slighted and disrespected, and all those things put me in a place of, I’m going for it tonight. It was just, if I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m firing it up at the rim. If it doesn’t go in then it doesn’t go in, but it won’t be because I’m not gonna shoot it.”

When it comes to what Bryant himself said, he certainly discounted the impressive work that Lin had been doing leading up to the matchup between the Lakers and Knicks.

“I know who he is, but I don’t really know what’s going on too much with him,” Bryant said. “I don’t even know what he’s done. Like, I have no idea what you guys are talking about. I’ll take a look at it tonight though.

“Who is this kid? I’ve heard about him and stuff like that, but what’s he been doing? Is he getting like triple-doubles or some s—? He’s averaging 28 and eight? No s—. If he’s playing well, I’ll just have to deal with him.”

As Lakers fans know all too well, Bryant was famous for utilizing mind games before and during games to get the better of his opponents. It’s quite likely that his propensity to do just that played a role in his words regarding Lin.

Either way, it led to one of the most iconic performances in Madison Square Garden in recent memory. Lin could have withered underneath the pressure and hype of facing off against one of the best players in the league.

Instead, he rose to the challenge and gave Knicks fans something they’ll never forget.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.