Lin provinghe's the realNBA deal
Palo Alto High grad making the mostof an opportunity with New York Knicks
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Jeremy Lin Show. For those who have been watching "Gilmore Girls" and missed the first seven episodes of this new reality show, stay tuned.
In just two weeks, the show has grabbed not only national attention, but the fancy of basketball fan and non-fan alike around the world. It is a cultural phenomenon that has even grabbed the attention of the President of the United States.
The star of the show is Palo Alto High grad Jeremy Lin. Unknown by the general public as a prep, despite leading the Vikings to the 2006 CIF Division II state title, and then at Harvard, despite developing into one of the nation's best all-around players, the 23-year-old Lin has altered the stock market, shattered stereotypes and become the most famous Paly grad since James Franco.
This is a Lin-derella story of "Rocky" proportions. As an undrafted player out of an Ivy League school, he gets cut from two NBA teams before landing on the bench of the New York Knicks. After being sent to the Development League, he returns to find his future very much in doubt. Due to injuries and a lack of team energy, he is given a chance out of desperation by coach Mike D'Antoni and responds in a way that captivates the nation.
If this story is in need of a director, the Knicks need only to look to the front row at their home games for their own Spike Lee.
Since Lin stepped off the Knicks' bench two weeks ago and accomplished things that rank among the best in NBA history for players making their first starts, the spotlight hasn't been any brighter as New York has won seven straight games and Lin has become a household word — even in the nation's capitol.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Lin was "just a great story, and the president was saying as much this morning."
It's still unknown, however, if Lin is a Democrat. If that were the case, expect a few Lin-isms in the President's re-election campaign.
Speaking of that, Lin was the subject of the Top 10 list on the David Letterman Show on Wednesday night. Letterman delivered the Top 10 worst Jeremy Lin puns, including "Lin-intermittent windshield wiper" and "Law and Order: Criminal Lin-tent."
Fellow TV comedian Stephen Colbert has chimed in, as well. Colbert said in a video this week: "This kid has single-handily done the unthinkable — made people want to watch the New York Knicks!"
Colbert continued on Linsanity by saying: "I have been declared legally Linsane . . . my system is messed up because of Linsomnia."
Colbert then brought out two products he believed would be big sellers: Lin-oleum and Lint.
It hasn't stopped there.
Whoopi Goldberg wore a Lin jersey on television's The View on Wednesday. When she turned around to show his name, the crowd roared.
Lin will be featured on the February 20 cover of Sports Illustrated.
Shares of stock in Madison Square Garden, the company that owns the Knicks, have shot up 9 percent since Lin-mania began.
Lin's No. 17 jersey is the hottest seller in the NBA.
Lin has received a shoe contract from Nike.
Lin was signed to a contract that was guaranteed for the minimum of $788,872 for the remainder of the season.
Lin, the first Taiwanese-American and fourth American-born Asian to play in the NBA, accounted for four of the top six videos on NBA.com (according to CBSSports.com), including the most viewed clip.
Lin has had more Twitter mentions than LeBron James, who will face Lin next week in Miami. And, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Lin's followers on Sina — the Chinese version of Twitter — have grown from 190,000 on Feb. 2 to more than 916,000 earlier this week.
NBA great Steve Nash tweeted: "If you love sports, you have to love what Jeremy Lin is doing."
NPR radio interviewed Chinese basketball fans in Shanghai and they are claiming Lin as their own. "Look at his face," one guy said. "He's one of us. I don't care if he was born in the United States."
Lin's Knicks' jersey is such a hot item in China, stores are constantly running out.
Web traffic to NYKnicks.com increased 550 percent last week.
Why all the attention? Let us check previous episodes of The Jeremy Lin Show:
Episode 1: Lin comes off the bench in a win over the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4 and scores a career-high 25 points with seven assists to get the ball rolling.
Episode 2: Getting his first NBA start, Lin responded with 28 points and eight assists in a 99-88 victory over the Utah Jazz. Lin becomes the first player in more than 30 years to have at least 28 points and eight assists in his first NBA start. The last player to do that was Isiah Thomas.
Episode 3: Lin goes for 23 points and a then-career high of 10 assists to help beat the Washington Wizards as Lin out-plays last season's No. 1 draft pick, John Wall.
Episode 4: On national TV, Lin outscores Kobe Bryant, 38-34 and adds seven assists in a 92-85 upset of the Los Angeles Lakers. Afterwards, Bryant says of the previously unknown Lin: "Well, it just means that we probably haven't been paying attention to him. It seems like it comes out of nowhere, but if people go back and take a look, that skill level was probably there from the beginning. It just went unnoticed."
Episode 5: Lin continues to sparkle with 20 points and eight assists to help beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Internet is exploding by now with Lin stories.
Episode 6: Lin goes off for 27 points and 11 assists against the host Toronto Raptors, rallying the Knicks from 17 points down. He ties the game at 87 and then hits the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds to play in a 90-87 victory.
Episode 7: Lin reigns in his scoring, tallying just 10 points, but dishes out a career-high 13 assists in a 100-85 win over the visiting Sacramento Kings for the Knicks' seventh straight victory — quite a Lin-ning streak.
Since stepping into the starting lineup six games ago, Lin has averaged 24.4 points and 9.1 assists per game. After his first five starts, Lin had scored 136 points, ranking him No. 2 in NBA history in that category since 1970.
"It's just unbelievable," said Peter Diepenbrock, who coached Lin at Palo Alto High. "Are you kidding me? It's just an unbelievable story."
Diepenbrock has found himself right in the middle of the Linsanity. He has been interviewed for hours on end since the spotlight hit Lin, including by Time Magazine. He even got a call from state senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, a Paly basketball star in 1967 who asked about his son attending Diepenbrock's summer basketball camp because Lin is a camp coach.
Diepenbrock was interviewed by a New York radio station on Wednesday and let it be known that he'd love to see Spike Lee wearing Lin's high school jersey. The deal was struck and Lee will be wearing it Friday when the Knicks host the New Orleans Hornets.
Former Paly basketball player Chris Bobel was entrusted with transporting the jersey to Lee. Diepenbrock, Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler and a handful of former Paly basketball players will accompany them to New York to watch Lin play on national TV against the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks on Sunday morning.
The entourage of ex-Lin teammates includes Brian Baskauskas, Kheaton Scott, Kevin Trimble, Greg Walder plus Luc Danna and David Weaver, the latter who played on Paly's 1993 state championship team.
Diepenbrock will be sitting courtside with former Menlo College teammate Nick Zaharias, who arranged for the $7,000 seats. All this because a young Palo Alto athlete never gave up on his dream no matter what obstacles were put in his path.
"That's what he's been doing his whole life," Diepenbrock said of Lin. "He gets one opportunity, one shot on the big stage and the question is, 'Is he going to make the most of it?' And he does. That's really the story of his career."
It's a story, for now anyway, that just keeps getting better.
And as D'Antoni said: "I don't know when there's an ending, maybe there won't be."