“Linsanity” has officially swept the nation. The puns on National Basketball Association player Jeremy Lin’s name have spread like wildfire across social media, traditional media and mock media (Stephen Colbert’s “The Colbert Report”) since the New York Knicks point guard came off the bench and starting scoring big less than two weeks ago.
Northern California native Lin, the league’s first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent, has been dubbed “Linderella” and “Linferno,” among other names. On Feb. 4, the 23-year-old began his meteoric rise, scoring 25 points against the New Jersey Nets, and went on to start in five games. On Tuesday, as a Valentine’s Day gift to New York, he scored the winning three-pointer in the final seconds to help the Knicks to a 90-87 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Those stats are enough to launch any player into notoriety. But Lin’s own personal story is buzz worthy as well. Lin’s parents moved from Taiwan in the 1970s and raised him in Palo Alto, Calif. He led his team at Palo Alto High School to a surprise California state Division II basketball championship in 2006. He joined the basketball team at Harvard University without a scholarship, and graduated with an economics degree in 2010. The Golden State Warriors signed him to a free-agent contract, but cut him this past December. The Houston Rockets waived him after two weeks, and then he ended up playing in New York. President Obama has even opted into the fervor. White House spokesman Jay Carney on Wednesday said Lin is "just a great story, and the president was saying as much this morning."
Have you been taken with “Linsanity”? What does Lin’s recent NBA success mean to the Asian-American community at large, and the league itself?
J.A. Adande, senior writer, ESPN.com, adjunct professor, University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism