Lin plays basketball while Cruz plays football. Lin has a degree from Harvard in economics, and Cruz was once academically inelgible at UMass. Lin is a Palo Alto native, while Cruz hails from New Jersey.
While the differences are undeniable, so too, are the similarities.
Both Lin and Cruz have stormed onto the scene in their respective sports, both captivating New York City. While they may come from dissimilar backgrounds growing up, their athletic backgrounds aren't too far off.
Neither player knows what it felt like to be drafted into the respective sports. Lin signed as an undrafted free agent with the Golden State Warriors last year. That relationship didn't last. The point guard also got a chance with the Houston Rockets, but that was doomed as well. He finally caught on with the Knicks, but it wasn't until injuries depleted Mike D'Antoni's bench to the point where he had no choice but to give Lin minutes.
Cruz was also the beneficiary of someone else's misfortunes. He appeared in just three games last season with the Giants and never touched the football. Steve Smith signed with the Eagles. Then Brandon Stokley was injured. That opened up a spot in the slot for Cruz, and the rest as they say, is history.
That's the biggest similarity between Lin and Cruz. So far at least, they have been able to make the most of the opportunities given to them. They've met adversity in the past whether it was Lin bouncing around the league before landing at the end of the New York bench or Cruz's problems at UMass before being buried on the Giants' depth chart.
Yet, both have defied the odds, and in the process, have ascended to the biggest stage in one of the world's biggest sports markets.
It's unclear at this point how long the ride will last for either player, but for now, they both seem pretty intent on making the most of their newfound opportunities.