Lin-sanity! Am-asian! Lin-demonium! Lin-credible! Lin-ning! Lin-derella Story!
The last two weeks have been a New York Post headline writer’s dream (or nightmare), as Jeremy Lin has emerged as a season-saving superstar for the New York Knicks. Gotham, the basketball world, and the Asian-American community have all been mesmerized by the Joe Hardy-like exploits of the 23-year-old Taiwanese-American hoopster who’s injected some much-needed excitement into the Knicks by leading them to seven straight victories. Thrust into the starting lineup after New York’s top scorers were sidelined, the 6’3” guard, who played at Harvard of all places, responded by scoring 136 points in his first five starts, the most by a league newcomer in more than 35 years! Last night, he dished out 13 assists as the Knicks eased past Sacramento, 100-85.
But Lin’s splendid play isn’t just boosting the Knicks in the standings, where they’re finally a .500 team (15-15). Ticket prices have skyrocketed more than 65 percent on the secondary market, which includes websites like Stubhub.com. His best-selling jerseys are flying off of shelves, and MSG, the corporate parent of the Knicks, has watched its stock shoot up as even clear-eyed, cold-blooded investors have caught Lin Fever. He’s certainly already earned his $613,000 salary for this year, many times over.
Lin’s rags-to-riches story – rags is a relative term, Harvard – is not unprecedented in sports. Remember Fernando-mania? Or the NFL’s Kurt Warner, who went from stocking grocery-store shelves to Super Bowl MVP? But Lin’s run has been [insert Lin pun her] to behold, especially when he outdueled Kobe Bryant on Friday night and pumped in 38 points. He’s been embraced by flag-waving, sign-making Asian-Americans across the country, making it seem like the Knicks are always the home team, no matter what city they play in. When he drilled the game-winning three in Toronto on Tuesday night – on the Raptors’ Asian Night, no less – the arena exploded like the Knicks had just won their first championship since 1973. How long can it last? Is he for real? Or should we prepare ourselves for seeing Lin magically turn back into a middle-aged real-estate agent named Jeremy Boyd once the playoffs begin? Think positive, Knickerbocker fans: You gotta have heart.