Snowstorm can’t keep Jeremy Lin from Sundance screening
‘Linsanity’ • Houston Rockets point guard shares his amazing story in documentary.
Published: January 29, 2013 02:19PM
Updated: May 5, 2013 11:33PM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Jeremy Lin answers questions during a Q & A following the last screening of the documentary "Linsanity" at the Rose Wagner Center during the Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City on January 27, 2013.

At the height of Linsanity, much was made of the fact that sudden NBA star Jeremy Lin was sleeping on a teammate’s couch. It was true, and it’s the one thing he’s corrected since signing a three-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets last summer.

“My biggest purchase was my mattress,” Lin said Sunday night at a screening of the documentary “Linsanity” at Salt Lake City’s Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. “I don’t really have too many nice things. I pretty much dress the same and live the same.

“But my bed is awesome.”

So is his story. How he overcame doubters and racism to get a shot at the NBA. How he survived not getting drafted, then overcame getting cut by the Warriors and the Rockets. How he was down to what would have been his last game with the Knicks when he went crazy on the court and — in the space of two weeks — became an international star.

And how his faith kept him humble. How his sudden rise to fame can be attributed to “definitely, first and foremost, God,” he said. “As the documentary showed, there were too many things that happened in my life that were beyond my control. And I’ll be the first one to admit that.”

(He said he’s thought about going into the ministry, and hasn’t ruled it out for after basketball.)

What nobody could control on Sunday night, the last night of the Sundance Film Festival, was the weather. The big question was whether Lin, 24, would make it to the screening at all. The snowstorm left the Rockets grounded in Grand Junction, Colo., as they were trying to fly to Salt Lake City for Monday’s game against the Utah Jazz.

Lin slipped into the back of the theater in the final minutes of the 6:30 p.m. screening, just in time to take questions from the audience.

“If you’ve seen the film, you know nothing is going to stop Jeremy Lin — even a snowstorm,” said director Evan Jackson Leong.

It was just the latest in a string of serendipitous events for Lin and the filmmakers. Leong first approached the man at the center of “Linsanity” when Lin was still a college basketball player at Harvard, long before anyone knew if he’d ever get a shot at the NBA. And Lin wasn’t exactly enthusiastic.

“In general, I’m a very private person. I’m very camera shy,” he said. “So I was definitely very against it.”

But Leong persevered, and Lin eventually decided, “If my career goes down the drain, the worst thing I’ll have is some cool footage. It turned into this. And we had no idea.”

No one expected that, after years of hard work, Lin would become an overnight sensation.

“As we kept shooting, we didn’t have an ending,” Leong said. “And when he got cut by the Warriors and by the Rockets, we were like, ‘Oh, man.’ And last February, he gave us an ending.”

spierce@sltrib.com