Commentary

When everyone suddenly loves you

Originally Published: February 15, 2012
By Duff McKagan | Special to ESPN.com

Jeremy Lin fanJeyhoun Allebaugh/NBAE/Getty ImagesDuff McKagan recalls the early days of success when he became funnier and better-looking.

Since I am not your usual type of writer here at ESPN (read: not a sportswriter by anyone's wildest imagination), it has been my mission to try to equate a sports story here or there to something perhaps that I have experienced. McKagan has seen some @$#*. McKagan is a sports fan like all of y'all. McKagan got himself a column. Period.

I am from a city (Seattle) that has lost its NBA team. Since that loss occurred -- the NBA itself and as a whole -- has been sort of "dead" to me. Oh, I sort of still follow in the most shadowy of terms (Blake Griffin has inspired a certain modicum of fandom); but for the most part, Seattle basketball fans are like the proverbial "man without a country."

But this past week it seems, something now dubbed "Linsanity" has swept us all up into a lather. Yes. Jeremy Lin, that normal guy who could in many ways be you or me (well, if you or I could go to Harvard and play excellent basketball and still be an unnoticed hoops asset on par for the next level), has absolutely and out of nowhere just been crushing it in the past six games for his New York Knicks. He did it again Tuesday night, scoring 27 points and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 left at Toronto. It is fun to watch. It is exciting, and it piques our collective imagination of the underdog. Davey has been stomping on mean ol' Goliath as of late. It has become a daydream story of what "could be" in our own lives.

So now, to a side of this story that I can sort of relate to from something that I had experienced once upon a time, when shockingly, my rock band GN'R suddenly and overnight went from thought-of street urchins whom no one gave a real chance of surviving to Cinderella-like success. From your own perspective inside the goldfish bowl, you don't sense a change in yourself. But from the outside -- that is, how other people are suddenly treating you because of the success -- one can get confused and think that perhaps you might be a bit more grandiose and kick-ass.

For about the first six months after our first record "Appetite For Destruction" finally took off, I really thought that I was maybe a little better-looking and funnier than I had previously been given credit for. I mean -- heck -- people were laughing at all my jokes and telling me how funny I was, and the opposite sex was suddenly all up in my business. I was the "it" guy. People finally understood just how dang cool I was. It was about time, after all!

I say the first six months because, right about then, one of my older brothers came down to visit me in L.A. After a couple of days of staying with me and witnessing firsthand all of this buffoonery, my brother sat me down and gave me the "you-know-these-people-just-want-to-hitch-themselves-to-you-and-your-band-and-could-really-give-a-damn-about-you" talk. I suddenly woke up. I had been drinking the punch, and he was dead-on right.

Jeremy Lin is no doubt experiencing some of these same sort of butt-smoochers right now. He seems like a guy who is pretty damn grounded, and has a good family around him. I wonder if that brother of his on whose couch he currently sleeps gives him that same talk that I got from mine. But for the time being, Jeremy, the opposite sex can be fun, too!

Musician Duff McKagan -- who writes for Seattle Weekly, has written for Playboy.com and now has his autobiography out -- writes a weekly sports column for ESPN.com. To send him a note, click here and fill out the form.

Michael "Duff" McKagan, a founding member of Guns N' Roses, writes a weekly column for Playbook Sounds and is a passionate sports fan. McKagan is currently playing in Loaded and Velvet Revolver, is a prolific writer, including an autobiography, "It's So Easy: And Other Lies."