Wednesday, February 08, 2012

02/08 (Linsanity) Quickie

I'll admit it: I'm a little obsessed with the Jeremy Lin phenomenon. It's only been two games -- his brilliant off-the-bench debut on Saturday, then his even-more-brilliant turn as a starter on Monday.

How big is Lin? He is featured on the front page of the New York Times today.

How amazing is Linsanity? The Knicks are playing the hapless 5-win Wizards tonight and even with Melo out with an injury and Amare out grieving for his brother, Knicks-Wizards is the most must-see NBA game of the day. Knicks-Wizards!

People have tried to capture his appeal, and it's because his combination of different backstories makes him universally accessible:

*He is Asian-American, an even bigger rarity in the NBA than a Jewish player.
*He is from Harvard, arguably an even bigger NBA rarity than being Asian-American!
*He went undrafted -- no team wanted him.
*He is an evangelical Christian -- although he doesn't flaunt it.
*He plays with emotion -- swagger: Fist-pumps, shouts, sly smiles after big plays.
*He plays in the media capital of the universe.

Any of those individual components would make him interesting. The combination makes him a phenomenon, peaking at precisely the right moment: The devoid days after the end of the football season, as the rest of the NBA struggles to catch its breath after the sprint-start to the season -- and heading into All-Star Weekend, where it is obvious that Lin will have to be a part of the Rookie-Sophomore game (this year, with mixed teams being picked by Shaq and Charles Barkley; I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that one of them will pick Lin first.)

Lin has instantly become the best story in the NBA this season -- eclipsing even Ricky Rubio -- and he has already secured a place as one of the most fascinating athletes of 2012.


*Kentucky crushes Florida: I think I said yesterday that UK would win by 20. They won by 20. I've been conditioned not to pick Kentucky to win the national title -- no matter how good they look in the regular season -- but this year may change that.

*Tonight: UNC-Duke. UNC is very good. Duke is just OK -- certainly overrated, and not close to the level of the top tier of teams this season. Coming off that home loss to Miami, they should get their doors blown off by a UNC team that poses match-up problems all over the place.

*NBA Last Night: Monta Ellis scores 48 in a close loss to the Thunder. Ellis is overpaid and a bit erratic, but he is on the short list of players who can go off for huge nights like last night.

*Paul Pierce passes Larry Bird on the Celtics' all-time scoring list: That's a big milestone -- The Truth has already established himself as one of the greatest Celtics of all time; that his No. 34 will hang in the rafters is obvious. The real question is: Does he finish his career in green?

*CFB: Memphis joining Big East. Much more interesting for basketball than football. If they're joining by 2013, I can't imagine Memphis coach Josh Pastner will still be there by the time they make the transition -- he's too hot of a coaching commodity to not head elsewhere.

Lots of good stuff at Quickish today. Give it a look!

-- D.S.


WuzUpG said...

I just wanted to point out that Jeremy Lin couldn't even break into the rotation, in a guard-heavy lineup with the Warriors. Moreover, he was playing in his own backyard of the Bay Area.

Dan said...

The Lin story is nice, but not unique. Matt Maloney of University of PA did it almost a decade ago, before fading away. Enjoy the moment, but it will inevitably fade: