Jeremy Lin, a Chinese-American phenomenon, has brought "Lin-sanity" to Madison Square Garden in New York.
Lin is a point guard for the New York Knickerbockers, who now boast the most improbable success story in modern sports annals.
He rode the bench for the woeful Knicks and watched such high-priced all-stars as the ball-hog Carmelo Anthony and underachieving Amar'e Stoudemire, both of whom make millions of dollars a year. Lin, on the other hand, makes the NBA league minimum salary of under one million dollars a year.
But Lin got a chance to play five games ago — and he has succeeded magnificently. He has averaged about 28 points a game and the Knicks won all five contests.
Lin has played with energy, intelligence — oh, did I mention that he went to Harvard, of all traditional basketball powerhouse schools! — and purpose.
He is a team player. He is self-effacing. He is Walter Mitty. He is the best human-interest story going on. When Lin scored "only" 20 points — a team high — against Minnesota on Saturday night, some people thought he had just had an off-game! That is status in the NBA!
Lin astoundingly outscored and outplayed the Lakers' great Kobe Bryant on Friday night at the Garden, 38-34, as the crowd shook the old arena.
The Lin story underscores the old-fashioned values of persistence, self-belief, and faith. It is wonderful to observe. Knick fans had dissed the team for years for its selfish, stupid play and its ability to come across as one of the most unpopular teams of modern times. The players were grossly overpaid and demonstrated a thorough me-first mentality.
The Knicks management was also to blame. It made poor draft choices and dumb trades, designed to import quick-fix stars, even though they proved to be incompatible in their team play on the court.
Meanwhile, the Knicks' neighbors in Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League, are having a championship-caliber season too. But for now, the story in Gotham is Jeremy Lin. Two weeks ago, he rode the bench in an utterly anonymous fashion.
Remember, only a week ago, the New York Giants WON THE SUPER BOWL! In New York City, it seems as if that happened a year ago, because Lin has so eclipsed the recent memory of the championship season. That is quite an accomplishment.
But now he is a star. It's a terrific story. We all should savor it — and remember those life lessons.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column.
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