Hello Lin Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been so MIA, I don’t even know if anyone is still reading this blog anymore. Blogging about Jeremy Lin used to be a nightly thing for me but then I had to face real life responsibilities and just like any other writing gig…once you fall off, it’s harder to get back on. Just know that even though I’m not blogging like I used to, that I am still a hardcore Jeremy Lin fan and I miss all of my devoted readers and the conversations that stemmed from this blog.
First things first….I am sending prayers to everyone out in the Philippines. For those that don’t know, there was a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit the central Philippines Tuesday and as of today, CNN reports the death toll at 144 people. I have so many readers from that area and I hope everyone is safe and their families and friends are ok.
I am breaking my blogging fast to deliver an “Insider Report” from a dear Lin Lady. You gals are everywhere….you are like my eyes and ears and I am always amazed at the news and pictures you all are willing to share with me from around the world. I LOVE our little global village!! :-)
I would like everyone to “meet” Lin Lady, Michelle. Some of you may be familiar with her already through her tumblr account: http://isabelijane.tumblr.com/ and twitter account: https://twitter.com/IsabeliJane. She attended the preseason game in Manila, where the Rockets beat the Pacers 116-96, and she was sweet enough to share her insights, pictures and videos through my blog.
DISCLAIMER: These statements are direct quotes from Michelle and do not necessarily reflect my thoughts. These pictures and videos are owned by Michelle and she worked hard for them, so please do not steal them….please credit her for all reposts and any sharing of her pics and video!!!
Her NBA Preseason Game Experience (this passage is a direct quote):
Day 1, Wednesday – “Hi Sir, I won’t be coming in today. I have an emergency to attend to. I will talk to Human Resources about this. Thanks.” That’s the early text message I sent my boss. Yes, I have an “emergency” I have to attend to.
Armed with my camera, I went to Sofitel Philippine Plaza around 11 AM. The “emergency” goes by the name Jeremy Lin. As I checked, he’s still in practice. Perfect. I will be going around Sofitel to find a nice spot where I can take that perfect picture of him, and WITH him. I’m familiar with the hotel; every year our company holds the corporate dinner at Sofitel Tent and I’ve checked in several times here. I picked the bench next to the Snaps Sports Bar (sports bar near the lobby). It gives a great visual of who comes in to the lobby and who goes up from Spiral Buffet (restaurant located at lower ground).
Around 1, I already saw my “emergency”. What I didn’t expect though was the security got tighter, especially around superstars – Jeremy, Dwight Howard, Paul George, and James Harden. Jeremy has the tightest security. Heck, the head of NBA Security is with him. How tight? Well I can’t even go a mere 20 feet near him. Jeremy went up to his hotel room to change from his sweaty workout clothes, rested a bit, showered, then changed to his blue plaid shirt and jeans for an interview in a room located at the lower ground. I positioned myself near the elevator where I know he will go down. Again, the pesky bouncers asked me to move away. One of his local bouncers though, came up to me and said in a lower voice, “he has another interview in Greenhills (a popular shopping complex in Metro Manila). He will be coming back in his room in an hour to change his clothes again. Wait for him at the taxi line so you can get a good view. He’s staying at 9th floor with heavy security” then walked away.
While waiting, I saw a good bunch of players milling casually in the lobby. This was a good timing for me too, because I got to observe how they behave off court (see below). After an hour, I spotted Jeremy at the escalator on his way to his hotel room. The local bouncer looked me in the eye and said, “I will signal once he’s going down. Stay put there. When I signal, move to the taxi line”. After another hour, Jeremy, now in basketball shorts and grey tank top, came out of the hotel elevators. I made a mad dash outside in the taxi line. I was trying to get near him when, for the second time, the pesky bouncers asked me to move again! Arrgh! The only fortunate thing: he was less than 20 feet away and he smiled at me. I think I was starstruck with that smile, I forgot about my camera! I was able to take only a picture of his back! With nothing to stop me, I decided to stay at the hotel until night. To pass time I talked to other basketball fans at the lobby. We waited until the players came down from their rooms to attend the NBA dinner night. The security got tighter because there are a lot of people at the lobby, waiting to take a glimpse and photo ops with the Rockets and Pacers. Jeremy’s bouncer went up to me and said, ”Jeremy’s stuck in traffic in EDSA (major highway in Metro Manila). He will be changing his clothes real quick. Go down the escalator. He will pass by there. I will signal you once he goes down” I nodded. After another 30 minutes, the local bouncer, from across the lobby, looked me in the eye and pointed down. I made a mad dash to the escalator. People were screaming, “Jeremy! Jeremy!” but the security was holding them off. True enough he went by the escalator. Wow he looks sexy in his blue polo shirt and black pants. I think this is the closest Jeremy shot I got. The NBA dinner was done in an hour. NBA players and management were starting to go back to their hotel rooms. This was another opportunity for me to observe the players off court, and had photo ops with some players. I could say my day didn’t go well, but I still looked at the positive side of things. I’ll try again tomorrow morning, before game time.
Day 2, Thursday morning 10 AM, game time – There weren’t many fans around. I took my spot near the Snaps Sports Bar. Another local bouncer came up to me and said, “They’ll be going straight to the airport after the game.” Yikes! But honestly, it was a good day for me. I got more photo ops with other players, Pacers’ Coach Frank Vogel, and NBA Commissioner David Stern (who requested NOT to have any security/bouncers follow him around the hotel), as the security wasn’t that much tight because the NBA security head is out (Rockets were practicing that morning so Mr. Chokehold NBA Security Head is at the Arena with them). When the Rockets came back from practice, as usual security got tighter again. They put a velvet rope in the lobby. Sheesh, so I really have to settle for game time. Still, I was excited to see Jeremy play live. (BTW, I shared a cab with Evan, the NBA media guy in charge of posting in NBA’s social media accounts. I met him in the taxi line. Real nice guy!)
Game time – I was ushered in to the VIP lounge of Arena to find my seat. As of writing, I felt really blessed about the seat I got. I was literally 3 seats away from court side, on a platform. I can see above the rim and players are within earshot (more on that later).Yay! I could hardly sit still. Game time! I was cheering “Go Jeremy! Go Jeremy go!!!” on top of my lungs.
Overall, while Jeremy and I didn’t get to take a picture together, I am still blessed that I got to see him play live. Blessings come in different forms, and I shouldn’t second guess the Provider, right Anna? (right Michelle…never second guess at the intentions and blessings of the Provider :-) )
Observations both on and off the court, of Jeremy and other players:
1. As usual, Harden is going for the “dribble-drive-kick/initiate contact-pray refs call it as foul” kind of play. Even Paul George went “what!?!?!?!” to the refs about it.
2. Dwight was booed when he went to the free throw line. Not sure if it was heard during broadcast. I smelled frustrated Lakers fans.
3. Jeremy observes the NBA refs unfair treatment of him. I was out of earshot, but based on lip reading he said “how can that be a foul?” If I remember correctly it was his third or fourth foul.
4. Jeremy is a vocal PG who calls out his team mates. Beverley is a “yes man” to Harden. Dwight is somehow a “yes man” to Harden too. During first quarter, I saw Dwight asking for the ball, Harden ignored him. I’m not sure though if it was a play called by McHale or Harden. Also based on my observation, while both Harden and Beverley calls for plays, its Harden’s calls the team follows.
5. Jeremy is really quick. He is even quicker than Beverley and his movements are more streamlined and graceful than Beverley’s. Writers say that Jeremy’s strength is his offense, while Patrick his defense. I DISAGREE. Defensively, Jeremy is way better then Beverley. His man to man defense is more effective. Beverley is a pesky man to man defender because he moves a LOT in defense – side steps, knee jerking, arm flailing and he is shameless to come too close to his opponent to throw him off and poke the ball in opponent’s face, which leads to fouls. While Jeremy comes not too far but not too close (a good one to two steps distance) against his opponent and tries to pickpocket the ball behind (seen him done this several times).
6. Off court the big guys have this grouping: Asik, DMo, and Greg Smith in one side; Dwight, T.Jones with Harden and Beverley in another. At the hotel as well as during shoot around, I didn’t see Asik and Howard talk or say “hey” to each other. Asik seems to be keeping a distance from the rest of the team. I saw them standing by the team bus and while the rest are gathered in a huddle, he kept distance. I saw Jeremy hang out with Parsons, Cisco, D-Mo and Asik more than Dwight and company.
7. When Jeremy played with Harden, he was quiet and just went to the corner 3 spot.
8. Off court, Euro players tend to be the shy ones. I was standing near the escalator and Casspi went to the concierge. I smiled at him and said, “hi Casspi can we have a photo together?” He smiled this big smile and was taking a step back and forth that he looks so hesitant; it made me think “did he understand me?” As he started walking towards me this bouncer whisked him off. He looked back. I just gave him the thumbs up sign. Asik smiles a lot.
9. I could hear how the Pacers are respecting David West who was the floor leader that game. Whenever he shouts “go down!”,”right,right!!!”, “in!!!” the rest of the Pacers moves according to the play. I observed that the first unit (Harden as floor leader) both Beverley and Harden are shouting plays but the rest of the players are moving in different directions which made me go “what are they planning to do?” A lot of times, Harden and Bev are shouting plays, then Harden will just go with the “dribble-drive-kick to initiate contact-pray it’ll be a foul” play. Looks to me that whatever play Harden is calling for, the rest follow. Whereas with the Rockets second unit, Jeremy was shouting, “go down!”, “roll!”, “inside out!” the other Rockets, especially D-Mo and Casspi, scramble to follow. You could easily tell they’re following the play Jeremy calls for.
10. Jeremy is a big sleeper. One of his local bouncers said “he is the only player left.. His gf (actually referring to Patricia the sister-in-law lol) said he is still sleeping.” This is already past 5:30 PM and the game will start at 7. Good thing the hotel is only 15-20 minutes away from the Arena. Parsons waited for him to wake up so they can leave the hotel together.
11. Jeremy and his family are generous. His bouncer said that they gave him t-shirts as token of appreciation for his service. I talked to this other local bouncer whose family in Florida is a family friend of the Parsons. He told me Chandler is big goofball and teases Jeremy mercilessly about lots of stuff.
12. McHale is one big scary guy. I saw him at the concierge with Larry Bird. While they’re both huge, Bird doesn’t come off as scary while McHale looks like he will pound you to death if you breathe beside him. I was hanging out with this guy who likes collecting basketball cards. He got to ask Bird to sign his card, but wasn’t able to with Mc because, “he looks scary”. lol
13. Early into the game, Frank Vogel (Pacers head coach) was relatively calm calling out plays from the sidelines. Second and third quarters with Jeremy leading the 2nd unit he was practically screaming on top of his lungs at his players, I could hear him from the other side of the court.
Pics with the Players:
Ian Mahinmi and George Hill
Warm Up Videos :
Manila Preseason Warm Up (this video is locked, so you have to click on the link)
THANK YOU so much Michelle for your contributions to this blog post!! I was cracking up laughing at your “report” as I was posting this and so jealous that you got to be so close to all the basketball players!! And I’m a devoted Jeremy Lin fan, but I don’t know if I could stake out his hotel for 2 days…so props to you and I’m glad that you finally got to see him in person!!
Comments for Michelle can be left on my blog or directly sent to her twitter account (https://twitter.com/IsabeliJane). I hope you enjoyed reading about Michelle’s adventure as much as I did. Until next time, stay safe and stay happy!! Goodnight my fellow Lin fans!!