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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The SoLinsist

As anyone who even moderately follows sports knows, New York City and the rest the basketball-watching world has been in the grips of full-blown Linsanity for the past two weeks.  Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is the feel-good sports story of the year.

Lin was undrafted out of Harvard--not exactly a basketball powerhouse--and signed with the Golden State Warriors, who cut him before this season began.  Right, he wasn't good enough to play for the Warriors.  He signed with Houston and was promptly released by them, as well.  The Knicks signed him, sent him to the D-league (the basketball equivalent of baseball's minor leagues, but without all the sunny optimism), and brought him back to the NBA primarily to serve as a back-up to a back-up.  Decimated by injuries, the Knicks turned to Lin, and, after one shaky performance, he has contributed one dominant performance after another.

Perhaps it was just a question of Lin finding the right coach.  He fits in perfectly with Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced, team-based offensive philosophy.  Lin looks to pass first, but is quite capable of scoring when needed.  The bottom-line is that Lin is a protoypical point guard, highly intelligent, and refreshingly unselfish.  For the first time in many years, the Knicks are a team worth watching.

Of course, much of the hype around Jeremy Lin revolves around his ethnicity.  Asian-Americans are, to put it mildly, not highly represented in the National Basketball Association. The NBA currently features twice as many players under 5'10" (2) than Asian-Americans.  But given his astonishing level of play over his first two weeks, given his playmaking creativity, given his grace under pressure and demonstrated ability to flourish under the microscope of the most ravenous fans in the most media-saturated place on earth, it is not too early to begin asking--and seriously considering--a question that would have seemed laughable only two weeks ago: Is Jeremy Lin nothing less than the greatest player in the history of the NBA?

No, of course he's not, what are you kidding me?

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