For the past few days, the news has talked about exactly two things...Whitney Houston's death and how Jeremy Lin is going to single handedly save the NY Knicks and professional basketball...and probably the world.
Now...normally, I don't care about the NBA. It's gotten to be more about the players and less about the game...I think professional basketball players are a bunch of whiny bitches and wanna-be thugs. But I really needed a break from the Whitney craziness (I mean...seriously people, do we have to watch aerial shots of the hearse sitting at the airport???) so I tuned into the Jeremy Lin stories and I was intrigued.
It seems Jeremy Lin has taken over the town. His jerseys are flying off the shelves. He's all anyone can talk about. He has lifted the team up in the absence of superstars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks picked him up off waivers to be the third string point guard...yet, once he got on the floor, he wowed them so much that he became a starter right away. Against the mighty Lakers, he scored a whopping 38 points...outscoring future hall of famer Kobe Bryant. When the Knicks played in Minnesota last Saturday, the Timberwolves had their 4th largest crowd ever!
So where did he come from? Why has he taken the city...and the NBA...by storm? Is he a flash in the pan? And why is everyone so smitten with him?
To answer these questions, I did what I always do when I have a sports question...I called my friend SJ and he filled me in.
Lin was a great high school player...first team all-state in California...and then went to Harvard as he was not recruited by the big basketball schools since his game is not flashy or freakishly athletic. He had a great career at Harvard, even leading his team to upset 12th ranked UConn by scoring 30 points and setting numerous school records.
After graduation, he fulfilled a dream by signing with his hometown Golden State Warriors, but that didn’t work out. He was up and down in the minors, eventually waived after the lockout, claimed by Houston, waived again, then picked up by the Knicks as the third string point guard...which they needed since with the shortened season, teams are playing a lot of back to back to back games.
So that’s where he came from...a very good team player with a lot of skill, who has worked extremely hard at his craft and who has gone unnoticed. He has clearly taken advantage of his opportunity because of the NBA lockout season. He has the most points scored in his first four starts in NBA history. NBA History! He is a complete player who has come into the NBA at the right time.
Oh yeah, he's also Asian. His parents are from Taiwan and stand at 5’6” (Lin is 6’3"). Is that why everyone has fallen for him? Yeah, maybe...but it’s more than that...it’s the whole package. His personality on and off the court generates excitement. His play has sparked the Garden and created a buzz not seen or heard since Patrick Ewing. And also...he was sleeping on his brother’s couch at NYU. Imagine LeBron doing that?
So Lin-sanity is sweeping New York...and I have to admit...I've caught it. This guy might actually make me care about the Knicks again.