The Jeremy Lin Show goes global

Jeremy Lin isn't just big in the Big Apple. Jeremy Lin is emerging as a star in Canada, Britain, Taiwan and China.

REUTERS/Mike Cassese
A fan of New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin holds a sign before the Knicks NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto February 14, 2012.

Talk about flying under the radar.

The Christian Science Monitor is based in Boston, across the Charles River from the US's oldest university, Harvard. Few but the most ardent sports fans in this newsroom had ever heard of Jeremy Lin, the Crimson point guard who finished his college career in 2010. He was not picked in the NBA draft. He rode the bench for three different NBA teams.

But Jeremy Lin has suddenly emerged – not just in New York or Boston or the US. He's now a global phenom.

Canada got a taste of "Linsanity" after Tuesday night's last-second shot for a New York Knicks win over the Toronto Raptors. The Toronto Star ran an article putting Lin's winning shot – against the hometown Raptors – on their "short list of thrilling sports moments in Toronto." And this is a country that worships hockey, above all.

Thea Lim, writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper, takes note of Lin's success on the court for the Knicks and how it relates to his ancestry.

"Rarely do Asians get to see themselves in starring roles on western television, or outside of a fictional lens that might poke fun at their heritage, their families or their sexuality."

Clearly, the California native is winning new Knicks fans in Taiwan (where Lin's parents were born).

But there are conflicting reports on how Lin's success is playing in China.

China's love affair with the NBA took a big jump with the arrival of Yao Ming in the late 1990s. And since Yao's retirement, some of that attention shifted to Yi Jianlian, now the Asian nation's only NBA player. But Lin is now gathering legions of fans in China, too. The AFP reports that China's state television CCTV even adjusted its NBA schedule, broadcasting New York's win over Minnesota Sunday and announcing it planned to show more Knicks games this week.

But according to The Financial Times, the Chinese showed a taped Champions League soccer match Wednesday morning, instead of airing the Knicks' come-from-behind victory Tuesday night over the Raptors in Toronto. Are Lin's Taiwanese roots a source of concern for China's leaders now?

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Back in the US, "Linsanity" has hit the Knicks' secondary ticket market in New York. USA Today reports that seat prices for Wednesday's night home game against the Sacramento Kings have risen 60 percent since Tuesday.

"It's unlike anything we usually see. This (is) very much a game-by-game pricing play," Joellen Ferrer of StubHub says.

Get ready for more: The Knicks host the New Orleans Hornets Friday night and the NBA defending champion Dallas Mavericks in a nationally-televised contest Sunday.

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