I was at work last night, trying to finish up so I could get home to my family, when I saw multiple tweets from my buddy Marc, making jokes about Jeremy Lin. I knew who Jeremy Lin was, but Marc was a baseball and football dude — why was he tweeting Lin jokes? Turns out every Asian American I knew (and I know a lot of them, obviously) on Twitter and Facebook was tweeting the heck out of the Knicks/Lakers game — all in favor of Jeremy Lin.
But it wasn’t just an Asian American thing — Jeremy Lin has captured the attention of all basketball lovers. What is it about this guy? Is it simply because he’s the first American of any Asian descent to really do well in basketball? Is it because he’s Christian? Is it because he happened to explode on the scene in New York, where dreams either come true or die, and not much in between? I’m trying to figure it out.
(Trinity, by the way, was mostly just so irritated by the Lakers horrible shooting night that he didn’t even want to hear any discussion about Lin. I think he thinks I have a crush on him, but that’s not the case. Lin is simply a fascinating case study of sudden celebrity.)
So, prior to last night, Lin’s history goes like this — standout basketball star at Harvard (of all places), goes undrafted, spends time with the Golden State Warriors, the Houston Rockets and then landed with the New York Knicks. With the Knicks’ stars injured, Lin gets put in the game against the New Jersey Nets and stuns everyone by scoring 25 points. Fast forward to Friday night, and this guy grabs national attention for scoring 38 points over the best player in the league, some guy named Kobe Bryant.
I listened to the second half of the game on my way home, and even though I was cheering for my Lakers, I was marveling at this guy. How is it possible that he went undrafted? Was it just because he was Asian? Because he came from Harvard? And how is it that the Lakers didn’t see the potential in this guy when they are desperate for a point guard? (Turns out, Mitch Kupchak did, but he still slipped past) And I kept lamenting to Trinity that it was too bad Lin showed his hand before the Lakers could grab him.
Here are a few of the tweets and status updates I saw from friends over the Linsanity:
And here are a few articles that friends have posted since last night:
To me, it seems that Jeremy Lin is as likeable as LeBron James is unlikeable.