Lin-Sanity: A doubled edged sword?

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Monday, February 13, 2012 with No comments
Jeremy Lin
      There are times when the name says it all when it comes to NBA success.  The name can say it all and help define careers, create legacies, and yes even ignite myths based on past performances.  Some of the greatest players that have stepped foot on the hardwood floors of the NBA also had the best names MJ, The Black Mamba, The Dream, The Iceman, Flash, Chocolate Thunder, and yes Sir Charles.  This past week, a new name was born, a new legend was created by a fan base so thirsty that they still believe that Willis Reed is walking through the tunnel.  Jeremy Lin has taken New York City by storm and yes it's time for Lin-Sanity!  Sometimes all one needs is an opportunity to show
their worth, show that they're worthy of playing at the highest level.  Jeremy Lin, a Harvard graduate, was cut by the Goldenstate Warriors and the Houston Rockets before landing in New York City but how did he get here, where did this phenomenon come from?

While growing up in Palo Alto California, Lin was taught the game of basketball by his father at the local YMCA.  Falling in love with the game is easy, mastering the game is the tough part and over the last five games, Lin has mastered his game and now as the starting point guard for the New York Knicks, Lin has created a fandom that rivals Tebow Mania.  Lin-Sanity is taking over the world, sweeping the nation and with all of the good press, there will be come bad press and unfortunately the stupid acts of others are out of Lin's control.

Jeremy Lin spent four years at Harvard, playing for the basketball team and majoring in Economics.  During Lin's four year stint at Harvard he averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2 steals per game.  Lin was also a three time All-Ivy League selection, as a sophomore, junior, and senior and finished his career in Harvard's top five in scoring, assists, and steals.

After having a brief stint in the D-League, one that saw Lin post a triple double in his first game, the NBA can calling.  As mentioned earlier unfortunately, Lin was cut but since both teams have expressed regret about how Jeremy Lin was seemingly let go without being given much of a chance.  After being peppered by the media most of the week about the Warriors letting Lin go, Head Coach Mark Jackson decided to address the situation.

"I got a text message from Spike Lee (on Saturday) morning, thanking me, like I had something to do with it. I never saw him do a layup, so people can stop asking me. He never practiced for us, so leave me out of it."

Ignorance Galore

As the Lin-Sanity legend was growing as Jeremy Lin carved the Lakers defense, making Derek Fisher look like a player in his late 40's versus his late 30's, a sign in the New York crowd caught my attention.  At first glance the sign seemed harmless, a jab at Kobe Bryant but after thinking of it for a while, the sign was quite offensive.  Kobe Bryant has adopted the name of "The Black Mamba", not because he is of African descent but more due to the black mamba being the fastest snake in the world, one that is considered aggressive and highly venomous, one of the top ten most venomous land snakes.  Bryant saw the characteristics of his game in the black mamba, no more, no less.  Last friday when I saw the fan made sign I was disgusted.  This is not a cry wolf situation about racism but what this is, is a call out on ignorance that shouldn't be tolerated.  That sign should not have ever been allowed inside of Madison Square Garden nor should it have been displayed by ESPN, the self proclaimed worldwide leader in sports.

Not to be outdone by ESPN, foxsports columnist Jason Whitlock in a moment that was meant to be funny sent out the following tweet after Linsantiy overtook the Lake Show.

I absolutely love Whitlock's work as I have followed him for well over ten years but the tweet above was a sheer moment of ignorance.  Whitlock has stated multiple times, to enjoy his tweets but judge him by his work but tweets like the one above even though it was meant in jest, has no place in this world.   Some have called for Whitlock to be fired for the tweet but I'm not doing so, but he should be used as an example of what not to tweet.  Ask yourselves this question, what if the role was reversed?  What if an insensitive remark was made about an Caucasian, African american, or Hispanic american?  It just gives one something to think about, in no case should ignorance of this type be tolerated. 

A moment of redemption

After realizing the error of his ways, Jason Whitlock apologized for his tweet above by releasing a statement on twitter regarding the backlash he's faced in the middle of Lin-Sanity.  

I get Linsanity. I've cried watching Tiger Woods win a major golf championship. Jeremy Lin, for now, is the Tiger Woods of the NBA. I suspect Lin makes Asian Americans feel the way I feel when I watch Tiger play golf. I should've realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally-televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger's first victory in The Masters. I got caught up in the excitement. I tweeted about what a great story Lin is and how he could rival Tim Tebow. I then gave into another part of my personality -- my immature, sophomoric comedic nature. It's been with me since birth, a gift from my mother and honed as a child listening to my Godmother's Richard Pryor albums. I still want to be a standup comedian. The couple-inches-of-pain tweet overshadowed my sincere celebration of Lin’s performance and the irony that the stereotype applies to pot-bellied, overweight male sports writers, too. As the Asian American Journalist Association pointed out, I debased a feel-good sports moment. For that, I’m truly sorry.  

Lin-Sanity is real

The Yahoo sports blog The Post Game recently revealed many truths about Lin-Sanity and some have actually given the New York Knicks financial gain.  All of this is of course sparked by Lin-Sanity, five games started, an average of 27 points, 8 assists a game, and a five game winning streak on top of that.

• Lin’s No. 17 jersey is the NBA’s top online seller since February 4.
• Knicks merchandise sales are No.1 overall in the NBA since Lin’s breakthrough game.
• Five of the NBA’s 10 most popular items are Knicks-related since ‘Linsanity’ started.
• Lin’s Chinese Wikipedia-style page (Baike) has picked up 3.5 million hits.
• Modell’s Sporting Goods Inc. in midtown Manhattan can’t keep Lin’s gear on shelves; they went through multiple shipments of jerseys and T-shirts over the weekend.
• The Knicks have taken advantage of Linsanity, raising average ticket prices by 27 percent since Lin scored 25 points off the bench against New Jersey in his breakout game.
• The Knicks’ upcoming road opponent Toronto has a huge price differential to see Lin play (cheap seat: $44.00) as opposed to an upcoming game with the Spurs (cheap seat: $12.50).
• Madison Square Garden stock has zoomed by 6.2 percent to $31.25 since the day before Lin started the Knicks on their winning streak.

To be continued.......

Lin's ascension in the NBA could end up being one of the best basketball stories in years as long as the Knicks continue their winning ways.  Lin represents the true story of the "underdog" fighting for his unlikely chance and making the most of said chance upon receiving it.  Allowing ignorance or hated to cloud the journey and story of Jeremy Lin would be an absolute tragedy.  Jeremy Lin will be a free agent at season's end and the Knicks will have to make a very tough decision because if Jeremy Lin continues this incredible run and the Knicks are able to make the playoffs, then they must use the full mid-level exemption to re-sign Lin so that Lin-Sanity can continue in New York versus elsewhere.  Continue the thirst Knicks fans but please don't become salty.  

Dedicated to Vic!