To Linfinity and Beyond

Jeremy Lin Sports Illustrated cover
Sports Illustrated Volume 116, Issue 9
Photographed by: Chris Trotman / Getty Images

You may hate puns, but know that Jeremy Lin probably hates them more.

He has now become known as not just simply Jeremy Lin, but Linsanity, Hustle-Lin, Harvard Hurricane, Linja Assassin, Linception, Linvincible, Super Lintendo, Mr. Lincredible, Lin Dynasty (Emerick). The list goes on and on to Linfinity and beyond.

There was actually a time before Lin’s name was smacked in front of a myriad of words to create these now less-than-humorous puns. (Prepare yourself to read a few more before this blog post finishes).

Let’s travel back in time for a paragraph or two. The day is Feb. 4, 2012, the day before the highly anticipated Super Bowl XLVI rematch between the N.Y. Giants and the New England Patriots. That’s enough to distract the casual New York basketball fans from the Knicks woes who have lost 11 of their last 13 games. Tonight is a home game at Madison Square Garden against the team across the Hudson, the N.J. Nets. As a Knicks fan, you’re feeling semi-confident or semi-unsure like you feel pretty much every night when it comes to your inconsistent team. Sure, the Knicks could beat the Nets, but will they? It’s never quite easy to tell.

The game begins and as minutes tick off the clock, your so-called superstars aren’t performing up to par. Carmelo Anthony’s shooting is off and Amar’e Stoudemire is in foul trouble. Head coach Mike D’Antoni’s job is hanging by a thread. Numerous guys are injured. Someone needs to play point. Jeremy Lin, come on in.

Now, back to Oct. 12, 2012. I don’t want to get into the play-by-play for the game that night. What matters is Lin exploded and led the team to a win. New York City witnessed it, but critics and some fans didn’t believe he was anything more than a one game wonder. Fast forward the next six games after the win over the Nets, and New York’s record was 7-0, with Lin starting at the point guard position. All he does is Lin.

Alright, I know, I know…you get it. Lin was the savior of the Knicks’ 2011-2012 season when it was in danger of being shoved under a rug much like the Lockout situation that plagued the League. So what does he have to do with new media?

A lot. He has a lot to do with new media.

Lin was named the NBA’s first “Social Breakout Player of the Year.” #Linsanity was a global trending topic on numerous occasions during the weeks he put up career numbers night after night in February and March. He gained 130,000 followers in a week. The pictures he had on his old-school Xanga.com blog went viral. YouTube tributes began popping up (Laird). Lin made the cover of basketball (SLAM), sports (Sports Illustrated), and news magazines (TIME), as well as newspapers. There is even a book written about him called Jeremy Lin: The Reason for LinsanityHe was a story on every local news channel and every ESPN SportsCenter. It’s all pretty Linspiring, considering Lin spent much time sleeping on the couch of teammate Landry Fields, before finding his own place in case the Knicks would let him go.

So, yes, Lin did have something to do with new media. And traditional media. And social media.

The Knicks didn’t let him go; instead, the sudden shift in his minutes resulted in his exhaustion and injury. He couldn’t be of assistance in the 2012 Playoffs, and over the summer he signed with the Houston Rockets to hopefully continue the Lin Dynasty down in Texas.

Best of luck to Lin. He made the Knicks, my Twitter feed, and the news more Linteresting.

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