Part of the no-way charm of Jeremy Lin's rise from twice-cut scrub to global phenom is how he slept on various New York couches (his older brother's, his Knicks teammate Landry Fields') in the giddy, early days of his run. The couch crashing added to the almost movie script feel of Lin's story and proved irresistible for the New York tabloids and national TV networks.
Lin answered more questions about his couch nights than the pick-and-roll.
But those days are long behind the new face of the NBA in Houston. The Rockets put Lin up in a plush suite at the Four Seasons downtown during his introductory blitz in the city, two sources tell CultureMap. Lin could have walked to the Toyota Center from the Four Seasons (not that he did — he was chauffeured over) after hitting the hotel's fourth-floor pool meant to mimic a tropical resort. Or getting a spa treatment or three — all on the Rockets.
He'd end up waiting for more than three days, stuck in a hotel room in a city he didn't know over the holidays, unsure if his NBA dream would live on or not.
"They hooked him up with the best of the best," one source tells CultureMap.
That's what you do for a $25.1 million free agent. Of course, it all stands in stark contrast to Lin's most memorable hotel experience in Houston. That happened during the Christmas holidays, when Lin waited around to be cut.
After the Rockets returned from San Antonio following the last game of the preseason on Dec. 21, 2011 — a game in which Lin scored the tying basket with 34.6 seconds left on a driving layup — Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Lin to wait around Houston to see what happened with the final roster.
So Lin waited — and hoped. With not a word of complaint. That's what undrafted, long-shot, already once-waived free agents do.
He'd end up waiting for more than three days, stuck in a hotel room in a city he didn't know over the holidays, unsure if his NBA dream would live on or not. A standard hotel room. His family came in to spend Christmas with him, to try and lift his spirits.
"It was actually Christmas day," Lin told CultureMap in one of the side interview sessions after his main introductory press conference at the Toyota Center that drew nearly 200 reporters. "Daryl called me at noon and told me they were going to let me go.
"We were on a plane two hours later."
Lin and his family quickly left Houston behind, probably not expecting to ever be back. It's clear that the cold-blooded cutting — pretty standard practice for lower level players in professional sports — has stuck with Lin. He remembered many more details about it than Morey did.
You almost hope that Lin gouged the Rockets for some $6 mini-bar M&M's or something during his new Four Seasons life. Then again, taking them for $25 million is probably sweet enough.
"They're taking care of him," forward Chandler Parsons, the Rocket player closet to Lin, said. "He doesn't have to ask anyone for a place to stay."
If Lin sleeps on any couches now, you can bet they'll be pretty golden.