ROCKETEER: Jeremy Lin is headed to Houston, but by his own admission there are some mixed feelings on the subject. Photo courtesy Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Oh, our young feel-good stories. They grow up into foot-in-mouth superstars so fast, don’t they?

Take Jeremy Lin, for example. Months ago, he took the NBA by storm. Do you remember that? It feels like forever ago. Back in early February, the Asian-American Point Guard took a league shrouded in suspected conspiracies and deep-seeded pessimism and gave even the most casual of basketball fans something to root for.

But that was five months ago. Back then, the Heat were just another underperforming dream team and Dwight Howard seemed to have one foot out the door in Orlando. Okay, that part hasn’t changed but you catch my drift. The man who once went by the screen name chink balla 88 has changed a lot since then.

For instance, recently he found he would no longer be a New York Knick after the Knicks refused to match the offer the Houston Rockets put up for the restricted free agent. A big payday and a one-way ticket to a team that will instantly adopt him as their next sports deity. Jeremy Lin must’ve been the happiest 23-year-old in the world, right? Actually, no.

“Honestly, I preferred New York,” Jeremy Lin told

What? Did he just say that OUT LOUD? Better yet, does he KNOW he just said that out loud? Because, if he doesn’t, someone ought to tell him he just instantly alienated the fan base of the city where he’ll be playing basketball the next three years.

Now, it’s always refreshing when a big sports name talks to the media candidly. And for that, we should thank Lin. But, Jeremy, would a little diplomacy kill you, bud?

Let’s be clear: no one’s blaming you for having felt the way you do. Do you prefer New York? Of course you do, who wouldn’t? But you can’t go out and say that even before you step off the plane in Texas. There must’ve been a Public Relations course at Harvard where you would’ve learned that.

Instead of welcoming his new home with open arms, Jeremy Lin took one last opportunity to save face with the fan base he was bidding farewell to. In a lot of ways, the move sort of makes him the anti-Lebron. And yet, the end result is the same: instant villainy.

The trouble here is, the people who will turn a cold shoulder to Lin aren’t in the place he USED to play. If you’re of the opinion that Houston gave Lin as much money as they did to sell tickets more than to win games, it’s conceivable that that plan just backfired.

What Lin forgot when he uttered those five words is that the Houston Rockets are paying him more than $25 million over the next three years. That’s face-of-the-franchise money, people. For 25 million you could get me to bottle up a lot of my feelings or even say some things I don’t honestly believe. Hell, for even HALF that I’d say I love someone like Fidel Castro (people in sports have done it for a lot less, you know).

So was Lin’s comment to stupid? Absolutely. But most Rockets fans will probably give the youngster a pass and as well they should. If you’re going to get hung up on what Lin said just remember this: HE signed with Houston. Maybe Jeremy talks, but money talks more. Lin might miss New York, but James Dolan isn’t the one cutting his paychecks anymore. And once he puts on the rocket red and realizes that, Houston will have the big name they’ve been searching for.

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