Jeremy Lin attends Mitchell Park court christening | September 20, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 20, 2013

Jeremy Lin attends Mitchell Park court christening

Former Palo Altan returns to shoot hoops at new basketball court

by Eric Van Susteren

NBA standout Jeremy Lin was on the clock Monday afternoon as he faced off against a nervous-looking Palo Alto mayor in front of a crowd of very eager, and very young, onlookers.

On a small, new basketball court outside the unfinished Mitchell Park Library, Lin had two minutes to score against the basket's lone defender. Doing so, city officials had decided, would "initiate" the court, to be played on for many years to come.

His first shot, a fade away over the head of steadfast defender Greg Scharff — who wore dress pants and a button-up shirt with rolled-up sleeves — fell far short of the basket. JLS Middle School students who were watching sighed, disappointed.

"C'mon, Jeremy — shake and bake!" one shouted.

With some fancy footwork and dribbling, Lin juked Scharff's jerky movements before shooting again, earning "ooohs" and "ahs" from the crowd. But this time the ball bounced off the rim.

For his third shot, Lin planted, tossed the ball in clean arc and swooshed it to the applause of children, city staff and parents at the event.

Lin, a Palo Alto High graduate who became an international sensation after a break-out season with the New York Knicks in 2012, attended the event to christen the one-hoop basketball court outside the library.

Assistant Public Works Director Phil Bobel said the court is an important part of the complex, which is due to open at the beginning of next year.

"Most of (the library) is for sitting still and doing still things," he said. "It's one of the few parts where kids can use their muscles and not just their minds."

The beleaguered Mitchell Park Library construction project has been beset by repeated setbacks and cost increases since construction began three years ago. When completed it will consist of a 41,000-square-foot library and a 15,000 square-foot, two-building community center.

Lin, a former JLS and Palo Alto High School student, spent the rest of his time Monday making passes to the kids, answering questions (his favorite team out of those he's played for — The Warriors, Knicks and Rockets — is the team he plays for now, the Rockets, one child found out), and putting his signature on everything from kids' basketballs, pictures, scraps of paper and even the back of one particularly ardent fan's grubby "Linsanity" T-shirt.

As Lin left, Scharff intercepted him to shake his hand.

"Thanks so much for coming out," Scharff said.

"Thanks," Lin said. "Nice defense."

Online Editor Eric Van Susteren can be emailed at


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 9:03 am

Does this mean that the Court is christened the Jeremy Lin Court? If not, what is it called? Is it now available for anyone to use?

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

How special. Now when's the library going to open????

Posted by Eric Van Susteren, digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:24 am

Eric Van Susteren is a registered user.

Resident, Silly,

Since the library is still under construction, the court won't be available to be played on until the library officially officially opens at the beginning of next year.

Posted by Ah Well, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

Does it make sense to have a basketball court in front of glass fronted library? I wonder how many basketballs are going to go through the windows of the new library.

Posted by Fan, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:43 am

I love Jeremy, but really? Three shots before making one? :-)

Posted by Dubs to the finals, a resident of Triple El
on Sep 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Can't wait until Sept 6 and 13, followed by Feb 20. Three meetings with the rocks and the Dubs, featuring one of the hottest point guards in the league!


Posted by Child Psychology, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Why would they christen the court before the library is open? Isn't the whole idea to get people excited and be able to play on the court afterwards? It's like viewing an amusement park but not letting the kids into the park.

Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Very kind of him to inaugurate the court, and what a thrill for the kids.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Was this publicized? There was hardly anyone there. I would have loved to have taken my children to meet Jeremy. Maybe they didn't want a huge crowd? They certainly put effort into that banner.

Posted by Athiest, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm

"Christening"? Inappropriate choice of wording for this liberal city. "Initation" would be a better choice. They don't even allow our children to say the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools. Although I don't practice religion, I think our children should know the words.

Posted by Ty, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Ideally we should just go back to the revision before the words "under God" were added for unsound reasoning. The government has no business asserting that this country is under God.

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