New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin Has Been a Breath of Fresh Air for the NBA

Unless you live under a rock, by now you’ve seen and heard the hype around New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.

He’s been taking Madison Square Garden by storm, an out-of-nowhere phenomenon that’s been the talk of the NBA and the entire sports world.

By now you’ve probably heard all the nicknames.

“Lin-sanity.”

“Lin-spirational.”

“Lin-derella.”

Even “Super Lin-tendo,” which he himself said he got a kick out of.

All he does is win Lin.

I’ll be honest, as a New Jersey Nets fan, it was pretty damn frustrating to see the Jeremy Lin era begin with a dominant performance off the bench against my superstar point guard Deron Williams.

But how in the world can anyone not like this guy? How can anyone root against a story like this?

No, Jeremy Lin is not that comparable to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, no matter how much the Worldwide Leader tries to make it so.

For one, New York fans with Time Warner Cable can actually watch Tebow’s games. (Sorry Knicks fans. Had to throw that one in there. I feel your pain.)

Tebow was a highly decorated star athlete, dominant at the high school level, and one of the greatest college football players of all-time. He was a first-round draft pick, to boot.

The 23-year-old Lin had nowhere near that amount of fanfare.

A better comparison, in my opinion would be New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz. I’ve heard people mention Kurt Warner as well, which I think works too, but Cruz is more apt to me.

Like Lin, Cruz’s breakout game came against a crosstown rival, and he was an undrafted guy out of a non-traditional powerhouse school who quickly became a star here in New York.

Now, I can’t imagine Lin being the catalyst for a championship run with the Knicks like Cruz was for the Giants, but stranger things have happened.

If you ask Lin what his favorite nickname is, he’ll tell you “Jeremy.”

He’s a soft-spoken, selfless, relentless worker who’s been honing his craft and ignoring his detractors for a long time.

Who would’ve ever thought an Asian-American kid from California would be here? Certainly not the college coaches who declined to offer him a scholarship. Or the NBA teams that passed on him entirely.

Lin was cut by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, and very nearly let go by the Knicks as well.

He got sent down to the D-League on January 17, just one month ago. On January 20, he put up a triple-double for the Erie BayHawks, and he was back in the NBA soon after.

I was watching my Nets on February 4, playing the Knicks like it was any other Knicks/Nets game. Lin checked in, and something incredible happened. Or Lin-credible, of course.

The kid who nobody wanted to give a chance to got his chance. He went for 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds and completely dominated my guy Deron Williams in a 99-92 Knicks victory.

The Knicks haven’t lost a game in the Jeremy Lin era yet. They were struggling all year to find their identity. Now, they’re a win away from the .500 mark, going for their seventh straight victory.

Lin is averaging 26.8 points and 8.5 assists per game over this six-game winning streak. His 138 points in his first five career starts are the most for any player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

Jeremy Lin is no fluke. The Harvard grad has become an icon in the Asian-American community, his jerseys are flying off the shelves and the Twitter-verse hasn’t stopped talking about him for over a week now.

He was sleeping on his teammate’s coach not long ago. Now he’s getting ready to move into the Trump Tower in downtown White Plains, a sign that he is here to stay.

This overnight sensation is not going away anytime soon, and why would anyone want it to?

Like Tebow, Lin is transcending sports, and he’s just a humble kid who didn’t ask for all this attention. The attention’s come to him, and he’s taking it all in stride. Don’t blame him.

I’m no Knicks fan, but I’m a Lin fan. I don’t know how any sports fan out there could possibly not be.

He’s a self-made phenom. A kid who nobody believed in except for a select few. He had to earn the trust he’s gotten from his coaches and teammates and he’s made the most of it.

Embrace the “Lin-sanity,” folks. Soak it in. The NBA is more fun when the underdog is making the multimillionaires look silly.

Keep balling, kid.

 

Jon Presser is the lead columnist for RantSports.com’s New York Jets coverage.

Find him on Twitter @metsjetsnets88 

 

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