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'Linsanity' is an only-in-America success story

'Linsanity' is scattershot and the interviews don't reveal much, but the story of Jeremy Lin's rise to fame is worth telling.

By Peter RainerFilm critic / October 4, 2013

'Linsanity' centers on basketball player Jeremy Lin.

Eric Miller/Reuters

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Jeremy Lin many no longer be provoking nonstop coverage of his basketball exploits but “Linsanity” is a reminder of how crazy things got for a while. Unheralded, ready to be cut from the team, he scored more points for the New York Knicks in his first five NBA starts in 2012 than any other player in the modern era.

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Evan Leong’s documentary “Linsanity” actually began before the insanity did – when Lin was a stand out point guard at Harvard. The film makes a convincing case for the fact that because Asian-Americans were such a rarity in the basketball world, Lin was unfairly dismissed throughout the run-up to his Knicks breakthrough. After a stellar high school career in California, for example, where he was named Player of the Year, he received no scholarship offers from any Division 1 university. He was on multiple All-Ivy teams while at Harvard yet went undrafted by the NBA.

As a piece of filmmaking, “Linsanity” is scattershot and too reliant on newsreels. And the interviews, most of all with the religiously devout Lin are, alas, fairly unrevealing. (At least on camera, he’s a rather dull fellow.) Still, it’s an only-in-America success story worth recounting. Grade: C+ (Rated PG for some thematic elements and language.)

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