For hoop dreamers, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is more popular than Eli Manning. He’s the “Linsation” of New York – now known as “Lin City” – and Knicks fans are going “Linsane”!
Lin is the 23-year-old Harvard grad and undrafted Knicks player who’s suddenly become a scoring sensation, averaging 25.3 points and 8.3 assists this week to lead the team to a three-game winning streak. (All this while the team’s two superstars, Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, are benched--Stoudemire due to a death in the family, Anthony due to injury.)
The deeply religious Lin, inspired by Tim Tebow, the Broncos quarterback, has dazzled the sports world since he took over the point-guard position for the Knicks on February 6 and inspired the NBA’s Asian TV partners to add Knicks games to their schedules. Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said on Thursday night, “He's been fantastic for us. It’s totally unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. He’s only going to get better.”
There’s also talk of how Lin – who is of Asian descent – might now help pack arenas throughout the league, much as Yao Ming did when he played for the Houston Rockets.
On February 4, Lin scored 25 points for the Knicks in a game against the Nets. Tonight the Knicks go up against the L.A. Lakers at home -- a much tougher team to beat than the underachieving Nets. As Kobe Bryant of the Lakers said on Thursday night, “I don’t know anything about him… I’ve heard about him, but I have never seen him. I will watch some tape, though [before Friday’s game]. I can tell you that.”
The first batch of red-hot Lin gear is slated to hit New York City stores today and retailers are expecting a slam-dunk in sales. Here’s Lin by the numbers:
$762,196 – Lin's salary this season
78,426 – Twitter followers, as of February 10, 2012
52.9 – shooting percentage
45 – career-high minutes in a game
36 – percent. MSG Networks ratings rebound since Lin has been in shooting range.
29 – Appearances for the Golden State Warriors last season
23 – his age (born Aug 23, 1988)
17 – his uniform number
4 – years he played basketball at Harvard
4.2 – grade point average in high school
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) - his height
200 lb (91 kg) - his weight