Knicks guard Jeremy Lin: Why we love his 'Lin-derella' story
Jeremy Lin is humble. He's religious. His style recalls an earlier era. And the Knicks guard's path to the NBA was unconventional, which gives us hope for our own lives.
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Lin is also far from perfect, as he is the first to admit. In his post-game press conference after the King’s game, he talked about his “sky high” turnovers – six of them in that game.Skip to next paragraph
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His self-deprecation appeals to many in the Chinese-American community.
“He has been very humble, he believes in team work,” says Howard Lee, a Chinese-American lawyer in New York and Lin fan. He says his son, Michael, in Los Angeles, and his daughter, Alice, in New Jersey, are equally enthusiastic about Lin.
But, Mr. Lee says Lin also has attracted followers because like the football player Tim Tebow, he is quick to give credit to God for his success. “He always mentions it is an All-Knowing God that makes a miracle happen,” he says, noting that Lin has indicated if he is not successful on the court, he might become a pastor.
Some New York basketball fans are just glad to have something – almost anything – to cheer about. “For the last twenty years, the Knicks have spent so much money on players and basically flushed it down the toilet,” says Ed Butkowsky, a Knicks fan who lives in Dallas and manages money for professional athletes.
For example, the current Knick team has such stars as Carmelo Anthony ($18.5 million annual salary according to Spotrac) and Amar’e Stoudemire ($18.2 million). But, even with both players on the court, the Knicks were losing lots of basketball games until Lin with his $788,872 (NBA minimum wage) arrived.
“All of a sudden we have a happy story in New York,” says Mr. Butkowsky.
How that happened is also unusual. Lin, who had been playing in the NBA’s developmental league, was waived by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets early in the season. But, the Knicks’ starting point guard, Baron Davis ($2.5 million) got hurt, so the Knicks claimed Lin off waivers.
The Knicks, playing bad basketball, had lost 11 of 13 games when Coach Mike D’Antoni put Lin in a game against the New Jersey Nets Feb. 4. Lin scored 25 points and the Knicks won.
The next game, on Feb. 6, Mr. D’Antoni decided to start him against the Utah Jazz. He scored 28 points and had 8 assists. “Lin-Sanity” was born.
For some New York retailers, the Lin craze smells like money. At lunch hour on Thursday, Modell’s, the sporting goods store, was filled with people buying Knick’s T-shirts with “Linsanity” on the back. “This is crazy,” says Mitchell Modell, the CEO, as he watched the frenzy. “We’re getting in six extra shipments a day, plus our regular deliveries,” he says.
One of those people buying two of the T-shirts is George Starks of Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Starks, in New York for a conference, says he has enjoyed watching people get into the excitement. But, even more importantly, he says Lin and his teammates appeared to be having fun.
“It wasn’t something that was packaged by the NBA and sold to us,” he says. “Who knows how long it will last?”
IN PICTURES: Linsanity! Knicks star Jeremy Lin
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