Who is Jeremy Lin?


I’ve been seeing a lot of questions from casual sports fans about this Jeremy Lin guy, so here’s your briefing and introduction.

Jeremy Lin is a guard for the New York Knicks who was completely anonymous 11 days ago. But on Feb. 4, the absences of several star players left the Knicks with no other option but to play the Taiwanese-American from Harvard who is in his second season.

Having never scored more than 13 points, the bench-riding shooter dropped 25 on the Nets two Saturdays ago.

Then, “Linsanity” was born.

In the six games since he was thrust into the action, Lin has scored at least 20 points in each game. He scored 38 on the Lakers last Friday, and hit a game-winning shot to beat the Toronto Raptors last night. The Knicks are 6-0 during this stretch.

So if you haven’t heard about why this kid is getting so much love on social media, there’s your answer.

Now, on to the million-dollar question that is on everyone’s mind: can he sustain the hot hand or is he a flash in the pan?

It’s going to be tough for him to get as many chances to shoot when the two stars of the Knicks return to the floor. Carmelo Anthony has been out with a groin injury and Amar’e Stoudemire took a leave of absence due to his brother’s death. Lin has thrived, being the Knicks’ only option. But Anthony has quite the reputation when it comes to hogging the ball and I could even see him going so far as to be jealous of Lin’s popularity (can you tell I’m not a Melo fan?). Stoudemire will not be a problem, aside from the few opportunities for scoring he’ll take away from Lin.

But even if Linsanity fades, what a run it’s been.

Another question being asked by seemingly everyone is, “How could so many people see Lin play and yet nobody gave him a chance?” Some people have cited the fact that little-to-no Asian-American basketball players have made it to the professional level and been successful, so he may have been thrown out with the bathwater before he was given a chance.

I think it may have more to do with the fact that he was a guard who doesn’t make enough three-point shots (right now, he’s shooting 25 percent from behind-the-arc). But he’s showing he can run the show and score plenty of points without having to knock teams out three points at a time.

In this social media age, people are looking for the next shooting star, because it’s too easy to make them a cult idol. Lin has become that, even though people don’t have anyone to compare him to, with regards to past athletes.

So then they start comparing him to the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. That’s unfair to Lin — he actually scores points in the first three quarters.

And if you’re wondering whether my keen basketball eye spotted Lin before he made it big the last two weeks, I’ll level with you. I knew about him, but I didn’t think he’d play well at the professional level. On Jan. 7, 2009, I first heard of Lin when he beat nationally-ranked Boston College in Conte Forum. Lin had just dropped 27 points, 8 assists and 6 steals 34 minutes of their 82-70 win over the Eagles. And he even fouled out of the game!

Being a college basketball fan, I kept a casual eye on Lin’s play after that. Harvard went 14-14 that year, but in his senior year (2009-2010), the Crimson were 21-3 and won the Ivy League. One of those wins occurred at Boston College, where Lin scored 25 points.

History had a funny way of repeating itself there, didn’t it? But as for Lin’s run with the Knicks, he’s writing his own history, because this has never happened before.

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