It seems like every season no matter the sport a feel good story is guaranteed to make headlines and give people something to root for. MLB had it in 2008 with Josh Hamilton and his amazing performance at the home run derby. This past season in the NFL it was Tebowmania with the Denver Broncos. It was the only thing on ESPN for months and, i admit while at first i was all into it watch his performances in full games then seeing only him getting the credit turned me off (thank you Skip Bayless).
In the NBA the story of the year goes to New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. Tebow has Tebowmania. Lin has Linsanity. Lin and Tebow were also in the second season as professionals and aside from the crazy media attention that is pretty much where the comparisons stop. Jeremy Lin is an underdog but only for the fact he went undrafted, was cut twice by two other teams, and on his way to being cut by the Knicks. Udonis Haslem of the Miami heat actually said that when the Knicks came to play the heat in January Lin went to the chapel in the America Airlines Arena and asked the the pastor on hand ”Can you pray I don’t get cut?”. Lin knew the February 10th deadline for teams to cut players so their contracts are not guaranteed for the season was approaching. Before the deadline the Knicks decided to give him a shot to that would decide his fate. His first game against the Celtics was not the performance you want to give if your job is on the line. The next game against the nets Lin was put it and that is where the Linsanity began.
If you ask Lin he credits him getting into the game thanks to teammate Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo Anthony was the one who suggested coach Mike D’Antoni to put Lin in their Feb 4 game against the nets. That game Lin produced 25 points and 7 assist off the bench; the next game was placed as the starter against the Utah Jazz, and the rest is history.
Linsanity was born and from the jump went full speed ahead. The fame came instantly, but how could you not appreciate and like it? A second year kid out of Harvard University goes from almost being cut to Leading the New York Knicks to a 7 win streak after what seem like the season was going downward in all ways. In the biggest city in the country on the brightest stage the kid was shining so bright. It was also a cultural thing with him being Asian-American. The NBA is all about expanding their game across the globe and not since Yao Ming has the Asian community had a star as big as Lin. Linsanity was taking over everywhere. T-shirts, hats, twitter with #Linning and replacing any other word you could with Lin in the beginning.
With every good story though there must be some negativity. There are the negatives of his game such as his inability to go left, his amount of turnovers during games. Then there is the personal negativity that comes with being in the world where free speech is protected by the first amendment. You have people like boxer Floyd Mayweather who believes that all the hype is simply because of Lin’s Asian decent. There was the New York Post headline after a Knick win that said “AMASIAN” in bold letters. Things went over the top the night the Knicks lost their first game with Lin as a starter to the New Orleans Hornets. A writer for ESPN.com made the headline about the loss titled “Chink in the Armor”. The headline was taken down within minutes and the writer was fired by ESPN. A ESPN sports broadcaster was suspended 30 days for using the word chink in relation to another topic during an interview. Issues like these can show that remarks and words still have meaning. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream made a flavor dedicated to Lin called “Taste the Lin-Sanity” that included pieces of fortune cookies in the initial recipe. Officials had to issue a statement of apology to anyone who had been offended. The limited edition flavor replaced the fortune cookies with a fresh baked waffle cookie and sold out at the company’s Harvard Square location.
In the end Jeremy Lin is doing something no one could predict. He is gaining respect from his NBA players and even as much praise from league leading scorer Kobe Bryant. ”The biggest thing to me is how everybody missed it,” Bryant said before the All-Star Game, via the New York Post. “They all would be fired if I was owning a team. I hear this stuff, ‘It came out of nowhere.’ I think it’s a load of garbage. You can’t play that well and just come out of nowhere. There has to be something there and everybody missed it. So heads would roll if I was owner.”
The Linsanity resumes Wednesday when the Knicks return to action. There will continue to be support and negativity, but in the end like Ben & Jerry’s says everyone is just going to have to “Taste the Lin-Sanity”