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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

On Linsanity: the rise of a legend

Lebron James is literally jumping over defenders for the 23-7 Miami Heat. Chris Paul is throwing alley-oops to Blake Griffin for the 17-9 Los Angeles Clippers. Despite Dwight Howard’s demands to be traded, the Orlando Magic are still 18-11. So why are the 14-15 New York Knicks, a team that lost 11 out of 13 games earlier this season, the talk of the NBA?

Two words. Jeremy Lin.

The Taiwanese-American Harvard graduate has led the Knicks in scoring in his past six games, all Knicks wins. He’s recorded over 20 points and registered over seven assists in his first five starts, impressing basketball fans with his Lintelligence and his Linside game. He’s played over 36 minutes in each of his last six games, demonstrating his Lindurance on the court. His 138 points in those five starts are the most ever by a player to kick off his career. Both he and his team are looking Linvulnerable. (The Knicks’ six-game Linning streak is currently the second longest in the league.)

People said that it was Limpossible for the Knicks to make the playoffs this year. Lin is proving the doubters wrong.

Although Lin’s popularity is due in large part to both personal and team success, it’s also much more complex than that. Whilst Skyping with my parents last week, my mother asked me if I had been following the Jeremy Lin saga. She probably hasn’t watched a minute of basketball in three years, yet she knew everything about his Linderella story. I even heard a couple of British students talking about streaming the Knicks game last night.

Jeremy Lin fever has truly become Linfectious. In a recent ESPN poll that asked “Which player would you be most interested to see play in person?,” Lin got 16 percent of the vote, more than the starting small forward for the Western Conference in the upcoming All-Star game, Kevin Durant. Considering that I had as many career starts as Lin as recently as two weeks ago, this is absolutely Lincredible.

Perhaps no athlete has ever demonstrated the power of social media more so than Jeremy Lin. After playing Kobe Bryant’s Lakers like a vioLin on Feb. 10, statuses about his heroics dominated my news feed. He had about 18,000 followers on Twitter three months ago. He now has over a third of a million, a Linsane increase. Dozens of memes have been created with his likeness. A Jeremy Lin rap song has nearly a quarter of a million views in a little over a week. I’m sure that if anyone still used MySpace, Lin would be blowing that up too. Every time he steps foot on a basketball court, the Linternet reminds us that the world is watching his every move.

Most of the response to Linsanity has been overwhelmingly positive. After watching his game-Linning shot against the Toronto Raptors on VaLintine’s Day, NBA legend Reggie Miller tweeted, “OK, I GIVE IN!!!!!!!!!!! It’s Legit!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!,” which was promptly retweeted by over 1,400 people.

Even President Obama is Linterested in the point guard, saying through a spokesman that “it’s a great story.”

That’s not to say that there haven’t been naysayers. Although some criticism about Lin’s play is valid (he’s had thirty turnovers in his first five starts), unfortunately some people are making racially insensitive comments about Lin’s Taiwanese heritage. Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock tweeted “Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight” after Lin’s 38 points against the Lakers. He was forced to apologize days later. Signs that say things like “Yellow Mamba” greet Lin whenever he plays.

However, despite the efforts of these individuals to sour this great story, it appears that Linsanity isn’t going anywhere. As long as he continues to play at a reasonably high level and demonstrate his Linnate ability to score and pass the basketball, we’ll be hearing about Jeremy Lin for a Lindefinite period of time.

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