Jeremy Lin, reviving the Knicks & NBA and making history
May the Best Man Lin. Lincredible. Lin your Face. The headlines are at it again… Linsanity, that is.
Fans from all across the nation chant his name, #17 New York Knicks jersey sales are off the charts, and Madison Square Garden is buzzing with the new sensation in town.
“MVP, MVP, MVP,” roared the crowd at MSG on Feb. 6, where the Knicks beat the Utah Jazz, as they gave a standing ovation to the one and only Jeremy Lin who scored 28 points.
However, not too long ago, the basketball phenomenon and point guard for the NY Knicks, was virtually unknown and didn’t have a team or position to call his own.
After graduating from Harvard with an economics degree in 2010, Lin went undrafted in that spring’s NBA Draft. However, he was later able to sign a two-year deal worth close to $500,000 with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors. After a year, the Warriors waived Lin in order to free salary cap space for other potentially stronger players, according to ESPN.
In 2011, Lin was taken in by the Houston Rockets, but also waived shortly afterwards.
Fast forward to the 2012 season.
With several Knicks players injured and the team in need of back-up players, Jeremy Lin was in luck. After joining the Knicks, it was one particular game that would unexpectedly change Lin’s career and story into a triumphant Linderella tale.
On February 4th, as the Knicks were in need of a lead against the New Jersey Nets, the desperate Coach Mike D’Antoni gave Lin a chance to play.
It wasn’t long before everyone realized they were in for a surprise.
“Jeremy Lin knocks it down, career high 15 (points)!” said one broadcaster, shortly after Lin entered the game. “Perhaps the unlikeliest Knick to be the hero. What a story tonight at the Garden.” And it certainly was a story. It became history.
The Knicks beat the Nets that evening by a final score of 99-92, with Lin ultimately scoring 25 points. In the following games, Lin became a starter and led the underscoring and once-reeling Knicks to a seven game winning streak that “saved the season,” according to the New York Times.
On February 10, in a pre-game interview for the much anticipated rivalry game between the Knicks and the LA Lakers, Kobe Bryant gave a cold shoulder to Linsanity.
When asked about Jeremy Lin, Bryant flatly stated, “I have no idea what you guys are talking about, but I’ll take a look at it tonight.”
The Lakers’ star certainly had a chance to witness Lin’s talent after the Lakers were defeated 92-85. Lin scored a new career- high that day with 38 points, outscoring Bryant who fell short with 34 points.
Looking back, Bryant formed a new opinion of the young guard.
“The biggest thing to me is how everybody missed it,” said Bryant, according to the Associated Press, before the All- Star Game. “I hear this stuff, ‘It came out of nowhere’… You can’t play that well and just come out of nowhere.”
Stephanie Flamini, Guilford College Head Women’s Basketball Coach, added, “You have to sacrifice a lot to be the best because it takes a lot of time, effort and patience.”
Jeremy Lin has garnered the attention of fans not only in the U.S. but in the world, especially in Taiwan and China.
“I like him a lot,” said Timothy Chang, a Taiwanese- American and Early College at Guilford junior. “Graduating from Harvard, his emphasis on teamwork, his humility, and the fact that he beat Kobe Bryant. Now, that’s pretty impressive.”
“My mom has been following the basketball games more closely to watch the Jeremy Lin sensation,” added Lily Huang, also a Taiwanese- American and Early College student. “My family usually never watches sports on TV.”
Aside from fans, Lin has also received noteworthy attention from players, basketball legends, and other superstars or shall I say, super-fans.
Bryant’s fellow Lakers teammate, Metta World Peace, rushed out of the Lakers players’ lounge yelling, “Linsanity!” when Lin made the unexpected game winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors with less than a second left in the game, according to the LA Times.
Celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Seth Meyers, Eva Longoria, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg were recently spotted at Knicks’ games as Linsanity continued.
But there was one fan whose obsession and deep affection for the Knicks couldn’t have been matched to anyone’s. The number one Knicks and Lin fan, Spike Lee, who was recently seen donning Lin’s high school jersey.
“If you took this to any studio, they would say ‘Get outta here.’” Lee told an ESPN broadcast reporter. “He’s Taiwanese- American, a Harvard grad, undrafted, cut by the Golden Warriors, cut by the Houston Rockets, now he’s the toast of the world? This is bigger than sports.”