Jeremy Lin’s Path Back to Stardom Clear…If He Can Meet Everyone’s Expectations

LOS ANGELES — Beaten down by yet another game without a victory, and now in the Lakers locker room with a sore right foot after the ankle sprains that limited his training-camp reps, Jeremy Lin faced the question without expression.

It was very Pau Gasol-like, really.

The question was biased, a leading request by a media member wondering how inspirational it felt to be Kobe Bryant's teammate during a game in which Bryant tries so hard (by shooting so much), ultimately in vain. It was the sort of question that Gasol, for all his respect toward Bryant and his ideal cooperation with him, quickly grew tired of answering—and would reply with politically correct enough words but dead eyes.

Yet such is life as a supporting cast member for Kobe, almighty and heroic to the death in the eyes of many fans and even some reporters.

And Lin, amid his open proclamations that Bryant has taken him under his wing like no one in the NBA ever has and his clear confusion so far in finding his place with the Lakers, still quietly bristled at the slight.   

"I give my all, as well," Lin answered Tuesday night after the Lakers dropped to 0-5 with their second loss to the Suns this season. "I respect the fact that he gives his all, and we all know that he wouldn't be who he is if he didn't give his all. But I give my all, and I know a lot of guys in the locker room give their all, too."

It was an evenhanded, strong, stubborn answer.

It's the kind of lion's pride in a humble package that made Gasol a worthy partner for Bryant. It's the sort of self-assurance that prompts Bryant to already believe in and invest so much in Lin.

"I'll go out there," Bryant said, "and I'll leave it on the floor, leave everything, and compete and be relentless and not be fearful of criticism or fearful of not playing well and missing shots. And that's the same way I want the guys...

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