If you know Jerry West, you know he loves great basketball, and he especially loves the players who create those moments and shake up the sports world.
If you know West, you know he has to love Jeremy Lin, right?
"My God, he's a tremendous player," West said Sunday of the New York Knicks guard, by way of Palo Alto High, Harvard, the Warriors and Houston Rockets.
West was in Southern California talking by phone, so I wasn't looking at him, but if he wasn't beaming and shaking his head at the same time, I'd be shocked.
"I thought he was a very good player," West said of Lin, "but as I've watched him, it's like a Cinderella story.
"Really a feel-good story, how hard he's worked, how dedicated he's been. Obviously his parents have been very supportive of him. ... I watched him play last night (in a victory over Minnesota). I said to myself, 'Where'd this guy come from?'"
West said he met Lin only briefly, years ago, and that he didn't scout Lin's college career at Harvard.
But watching Lin play with the Knicks in five memorable games -- and just four starts -- West said it's safe to conclude that Lin already has proved himself on the NBA level.
"He's just so clever," West said. "He doesn't overwhelm you with athleticism. But he's plenty athletic. He's just so clever, a little subtle change of direction.
"If you watch, Chris Paul looks like he's out there going to sleep playing basketball, just
little subtle shifts and maneuvers with the ball."
"(Lin)'s not as gifted with the ball as Paul, but he's really a very clever player. He's hard to read defensively; teams are putting different defensive players on him, and he just goes by them.
"It's great to watch, I'll say that."
Interestingly, while West was more than happy to talk about Lin and all things Lin-sanity, he laughed and immediately cut me off when I asked one specific question:
Did the Warriors' front office check with their most famous exec-board member before the team released Lin on the first day of training camp this season?
"I don't want to go there," West said, with a chuckle. A pause. "Just: No comment."
We'll have to make our own judgment on that one, then, but read what he has to say about Lin and I think West's view is clear on this one.
"So many times in sports we write and care about the guys who started out with a lot of attention," West said. "This is something all kids should look at. It's about more than him. He's living his dreams through adverse conditions ...
"I don't know him, wasn't aware of him. My son Ryan (a scout with the Lakers) liked him in college because of the way he played. I wish I knew him as a player."
So, Jerry, is Lin destined to remain an NBA starting lead guard?
More West laughter, like he couldn't believe the question. He possibly muttered a few words under his breath, but he did it merrily.
"I definitely think he's a starter," West said finally.
So what happens with the Knicks when Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire get back into the lineup?
"I don't know, but I see a completely different energy level (with Lin)," West said. "And maybe they need to play a different way. This kid has contributed something special.
"I hope it continues."