Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is everyone's darling and it isn't hard to see why. On top of being a talented player on the court, a seemingly nice guy off of it and having a last name even the least creative person could do something with—the violin being my favorite—his meteoric rise in popularity is due to the fact that fans can relate to him.
What could be more endearing than a guy who for the last six weeks had been crashing on his brother's couch? He comes across as an average guy, and he sounds genuine and passionate in his interviews without sounding so over-the-top and downright annoying like Tim Tebow.
Here is a telling quote from Lin: "When I'm on the court, I try to play with all my emotion and heart. I just love the game, playing with this team and coach."
He is a real life Rocky Balboa and is becoming a hero in the country of Taiwan; his parents emigrated to the United States from Taiwan in the mid-1970s. About 500 fans arrived at a Taipei mall to watch Lin play on a big screen.
One of Lin's greatest feats has been making the pedestrian players around him look like real threats. Steve Novak, Jared Jeffries and Bill Walker need to ante up and get this man a Tempur-Pedic! These guys are fringe D-League players, yet with Lin they look dynamic.
Last night against the Lakers, Jeffries led the trio with 11 points and nine rebounds. On Wednesday, Novak erupted for 19 points and went 5-of-9 from downtown—no doubt due to receiving some clever passes from Lin, something the journeyman shooter wouldn't have dreamed of when playing with Iman Shumpert and Carmelo Anthony. Even Walker hit double figures last Monday against Utah.
Once Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony return, it will be very interesting to see how the team plays. If Melo continues to be a black hole on offense and Lin becomes a non-factor, will the pro-Lin fanbase call for Melo's head?
Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out in New York, Lin has already done his job by injecting life into this listless group of Knicks.
As a fan of basketball, I hope Lin doesn't get lost in the shuffle once the two "stars" return. I am betting Novak, Jeffries and Walker are hoping that is the case as well.