There cannot be a single New Yorker left who hasn’t at least heard of Jeremy Lin. Even if you’re not a fan of the NBA, you all must be aware that he plays for the New York Knicks. There has been more hype about this Asian-American player in Madison Square Garden then there has been about anyone in many years, even all-stars Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Lin may be considered a key player for New York but that hasn’t always been the case. He was not offered any athletic scholarships out of high school and was undrafted out of Harvard in 2010. Lin was only able to reach a partially guaranteed contract with the Golden State Warriors. He barely played and was assigned to the NBA Development League three times, not exactly a good start to his career.
During the lockout, Lin was waived by the Warriors but was then claimed off waivers by the Houston Rockets. Lin played less then 10 minutes in two pre-season games before the Rockets decided to waive Lin to clear payroll on Christmas Eve. Then the Knicks claimed Lin off waivers on December 27th to be a backup point guard behind Toney Douglas and Mike Bibby. He went on to play only 55 minutes in the first 23 games.
On February 4, Lin had his breakout game against the New Jersey Nets with 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, leading the Knicks to 99-92 victory. After that game, Anthony was out because of an injury and Stoudemire was out because of a death in the family; it took about seven games before they all played together. Jeremy Lin was on fire. In his 12 starts before the All-Star break, he averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists. He wracked up wins against the Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, and Los Angeles Lakers. Jeremy Lin was instrumental in bringing the Knicks back up to .500 not only with his own skill as a point guard, but also because he makes the rest of his team play better.
The media exploded with story of Jeremy Lin. He was pictured on the cover of two consecutive Sports Illustrated magazines, only the third NBA player in the magazine’s history to do so. Once the team began selling replicas of Lin’s jersey and t-shirts, the sales and traffic of the Knicks’ online store increased more than 3,000 percent. “Linsanity” has swept the nation. He’s still a rookie who makes plenty of mistakes and has a lot to learn, but it’s safe to say that he helped save the Knicks 2011-2012 season by making the team a contender for the playoffs.