For hoop dreamers, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is now the “Linsation” of New York – which is 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 been dazzling the sports world since he took over the point-guard position for the Knicks on February 6. His dazzling play has nudged the NBA’s Asian TV partners into adding Knicks games to their schedules, and 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.” (Update, 10:45 p.m. EST: The Knicks beat the Lakers 92-85 on Friday night, with Lin scoring a career-high 38 points.)
The first batch of red-hot Lin gear was slated to hit New York City stores today and retailers are expecting a slam-dunk in sales. Here’s Lin by the numbers, as of late Friday afternoon:
$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 the MSG Networks ratings have rebounded 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 – his grade point average in high school
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) – his height
200 lb (91 kg) – his weight
This article was updated at 10:45 p.m. on February 10, 2012.