You might as well give Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks the MVP right now. OK, we won't go that far, but with the way he's playing and the ridiculous fan support he's getting, Lin is one of the biggest stories in recent sports memory.
He proved Friday night that all the hype that has followed him for the past week is warranted, as he outplayed Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers en route to a 92-85 win.
Jeremy Lin took over the game from the onset, scoring nine points while making four of his first five shots and assisting on two baskets just five minutes into regulation. He finished with a career-high 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting and seven assists and played like an All-Star throughout the game.
It was his first game in the national television spotlight, and after games against the Nets, Jazz and Wizards, his first true test in the NBA. He not only willed the Knicks to victory without Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire, but he dominated the game. Even when Kobe tried to guard him, Lin was successful on the offensive end.
Kobe struggled out of the gate, making only one of his first 11 shots from the floor. He turned it on in the second half and finished with 34. Andrew Bynum couldn't buy a bucket and went just 1-of-8 for three points. The Lakers fell to 15-12, including an abysmal 4-10 on the road.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, improve to 12-15 and to within a half game of the Milwaukee Bucks for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. With Lin at the helm, the sky is the limit for the Knicks. When they get Anthony and Stoudemire back, they will be a serious contender in the East.
The story of the game was obviously Jeremy Lin. He has officially arrived as an NBA player after having the kind of game he did on national television. In his last four games, he has scored at least 23 points with seven assists in each.
"Linsanity" is in full effect, and his fanbase is beginning to rival that of Tim Tebow.
This is why we love sports. We always tend to root for the underdog, and being a Harvard graduate and an Asian-American in the NBA, it's hard to find a bigger underdog. We also love Lin because he's humble.
He doesn't believe he deserves all the praise he's getting and wants people to focus more on the team than himself. Jeremy Lin is playing like a superstar, and for as long as it lasts and even after that, his loyal fans will follow him.