After one season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jeremy Lin chose to take his talents elsewhere in NBA free agency signing with Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets last summer. Although Lin is a California native with a strong fan base in Los Angeles, the veteran point guard decided to leave the Lakers for a chance to start over yet again in the Eastern Conference.
On Monday, Lin will face his former team for the first time since leaving Los Angeles. The Harvard product was asked about his former teammate Kobe Bryant and what it’ll be like playing against him for the last time via NBA.com:
“You’re talking about an all-time great. Just somebody that deserves the recognition that he’s getting, and I’m glad that he is getting his farewell tour. It just seems like he’s really at peace with it and he’s given a lot to the game. This is kind of the one opportunity that everybody can appreciate what he’s done for the game.”
Lin and Bryant played less than half a season together in Los Angeles last year. Kobe went down with the season-ending shoulder injury 35 games into the season that resulted in Lin being thrust into a bigger role on the squad.
Although Lin had to shoulder the load for the injured Bryant, the veteran guard never seemed completely comfortable with his role leading to a predictable exit in free agency. The same can’t be said for this year with Lin fitting in well in Charlotte despite averaging nearly identical numbers across the board in comparison to his only season with the Lakers.
Charlotte comes into this game against Los Angeles with a 16-13 record while hovering around the eighth seed in the East with the Orlando Magic (17-13). If the Hornets can continue to gel, Charlotte may very well be in the playoff hunt at season’s end with Lin playing a pivotal role on the squad.