“We got to the restaurant, and there were people kind of standing outside,” said Greg Walder, a former teammate of Lin’s. “We didn’t know if they were paparazzi or what.”
He added: “After we walked outside, one person saw him. Everyone in the restaurant started kind of started seeing him, like, ‘Oh, that’s Jeremy Lin,’ but they didn’t say anything. It’s kind of like they were picking it up. We get outside, and suddenly within probably three minutes, a semicircle of people are kind of crowded around.”
Walder was joined by Brian Baskauskas and Amar Miglani at Madison Square Garden on Monday night for the ’ 100-92 loss to the Nets. While it might seem by Monday they would have some pull in getting seats closer, the contingent was back in the upper reaches of the Garden’s 400 section a day after Lin helped the Knicks to a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday afternoon.
Baskauskas said there were a number of Palo Alto alumni, along with a former Amateur Athletic Union teammate of Lin’s and several of his old coaches, who made the trip to the Garden on Sunday or Monday — some taking in both games — to see firsthand the excitement surrounding Lin.
After having their picture taken near the court, the group took a moment to capture their own memories, snapping photographs on their cellphones before having to hurry up to their seats before tip-off.
David Weaver, a Seattle-based lawyer who like Lin won a state title at Palo Alto as a senior, in 1993, coached Lin during his freshman season in high school. Lin was called up from the junior varsity and helped Palo Alto to the playoffs that season.
“He was 5-3, 120 pounds at the time,” Weaver, who was at Sunday’s game, said in an e-mail. “But still was fearless taking the ball into the lane, and did a fantastic job as our court general.”
While Lin parlayed his playing days at Harvard into an N.B.A. career, Baskauskas had his moment at Amherst, when he made a .
Miglani, a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, said there was no shortage of people who wanted to question him about his former teammate.
“He’s killing it, literally on the biggest stage in the world,” Baskauskas said.
HONORING THE PAST The Knicks honored John Rucker between the first and second quarter of Monday night’s game on Pioneer Night, part of Black History Month. Rucker played in training camp with the Knicks in 1950, before the team signed its first black player, Nat Clifton, known as Sweetwater. Rucker was cut, but said that he went on to play baseball, not basketball, in smaller towns.
“I’d be the first guy in a lot of places,” he said. “First guy in Sheboygan. I had a room alone. It was lonely.”
Rucker said he was cut before the exhibition games started, but returned once to Madison Square Garden for “a prelim game” with a team that he was playing for in upstate New York. He did not remember the name of the team.
“They tried to showcase me, but it didn’t work out,” he said of the Knicks.
Rucker said he could appreciate Jeremy Lin for getting a second chance — or even a third — after being released.
“I like basketball, and everybody that plays the game up to snuff is wonderful with me,” Rucker said.