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No matter what happens from here, no matter how far he goes, the phenomenon that was Linsanity is dead. Don’t get me wrong. Jeremy Lin may, for all we know, become an all-star in Houston, but while he jets off to Texas with his big, new ($25m) contract, he leaves behind elements that made his story as great as it was.
It wasn’t just the fact that Jeremy Lin was, all of the sudden, going off, it was about where he was doing it too. It was that he was bounced, from Houston ironically, to New York on a team that planned to rely on Baron Davis before the season began. It was his playing-for-pennies type contract, and the stories of him sleeping on his brother’s couch in the city that created the protagonist we all came to know. The endless possibilities when it came to jokes referencing his Harvard degree, his new job in Midtown Manhattan, and the money he was making only sweetened the plot.
Could we envision “Linsanity” t-shirts being sold in red instead of blue? Yeah, I suppose. Could Lin get the crowd in the Toyota Center turned up like he did at Madison Square Garden? Guess so. But without the backdrop of the greatest city in the world (don’t fight this), or without the support of the world’s most over-confident fans for the league’s most over-hyped team (or that) things just won’t be the same, and when things aren’t the same it’s better to just end ‘em altogether.
So in this, the eulogy for the Linsane drama, thanks just have to be in order, not only to the man himself but also to the media who gassed the player to the high heavens. You had your part in this too. It must have been a field day in the headline writing department each morning, but in hindsight the part you played is the least we could have expected from a city at the center of the nation’s largest media market.
To Mike D’antoni, whose
no defense super-offensive system gave birth to this golden child, thanks to you too. You may have payed for it with your job, but at least- well… Thanks also go out to Carmelo Anthony’s groin. Without you acting and keeping Melo off the court, there, in likelihood, would be no chance for Lin to get hot and start the craze of the season. Actually, there definitely wouldn’t be any chance of that happening.
And, of course, to Jeremy Lin himself. Man of man, were you good. There’s nothing like an irrationally inexplicable string of great performances to spice up sport debates, and after after a more than hefty dosage of “TEEEEBBBOOOOWWWWWW,” you had a tough act to follow, but follow you did and in style. To me, amongst other things, your story showed that circumstance and confidence may be just as important factors as skill and athleticism when it came to the success of other players. To others, you showed that your kind canmake it in the NBA. Yes people, Ivy League graduates can ball.
But all that’s over and done with now. You’ve got a new contract with the Rockets, and Jim Dolan’s U-turn in deciding not to match it means your love affair with the New York media is over. The romance, the gushiness - not to mention, the Jersey sales - are all gone, but, rest assured, never ever forgotten. Your untimely demise confuses some, and we may never truly understand it all, but alas we must succumb to reality…
R.I.P. Linsanity, we barely knew thee.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America
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