Linsane in the Membrane. Linsane in the Brain.
28 points. 14 assists. 5 steals.
That was the stat line for Jeremy Lin for Sunday’s game against the world champion Mavs, a 104-97 Knicks victory at the Garden. All the “beautiful” (and not so beautiful) people were there. Mark Zuckerberg, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Lin’s high school coach. All fans at the arena and watching on TV and listening on radio were going lin-sane in the brain for Jeremy Lin & the New York Knicks.
Madison Square Garden is again a happening place and Jeremy Lin is the catalyst. Lin, while clearly a talented player, is not yet complete. He turns the ball over a lot, his track record is still very modest, and it’s unclear how good a defender he is beyond his ability to create steals. But he has moved beyond “flash in the pan” and it’ll be interesting to see where he levels off. But what’s clear is that has not only energized the Knicks, but also the NBA fan base throughout the world. And he’s done this in 2 weeks!
There are now far more Knicks fans than when they were 8-15 when the rejuvenation began on February 4. The bandwagon gets more passengers every day. I am not a “new” Knicks fan as I followed and rooted for them (disgusted as I was) when they were 8-15, though I too am jazzed about their recent success. But I’ve seen lots of Knicks basketball over the 50 years I’ve been a fan, and much of it has been awful.
My first memories of seeing Knicks basketball was going to the old Garden on 49th & 8th and watching some bad basketball from Len Chappell (who Wilt scored 100 points against), “Bells” (Walt Bellamy) whose tuchas was as wide as the arena, and later a young guy named Willis Reed (he turned out OK).
In the late 60s the “new” Garden was electric. The championship years ‘69-‘70 & ‘72-‘73 were magical. I recall the Garden announcer welcoming fans to the “Magical World of Madison Square Garden”. I paid for “blue seats” upstairs just to be a part of the game.
But I also suffered through many bad Knicks teams in the late 70s and 80s—basketball luminaries like Ken ‘the Animal” Bannister, and fan favorite Hawthorne Wingo, a mediocre player with a cool name. The Patrick Ewing era brought back excitement but alas no rings, followed by the Isaiah Thomas management era, an embarrassment on every dimension. In fact just last week against Sacramento Kings, the current day King player, Isaiah Thomas, was mercilessly booed every time he touched the ball for the crime of having the same name as the universally loathed former leader Isaiah Thomas.
Now the magic is back. #17 Lin jerseys are flying off the shelf and Jeremy Lin is trying to understand how his life has changed from being an afterthought to one of the world’s most famous people, and his grandmother in Taiwan is trying to understand why people won’t let her alone. In literally 2 weeks Jeremy Lin has energized New York, the world’s most famous arena, and the NBA fan base.
It’s Lin-credible. I hope it lasts lin-definitely.