NY Knicks: The Jeremy Lin Experience Away from the Garden
Lin's rise to stardom has tapered off, and he's settled into a starting role with averages of 14.6 points, 6.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
However, Linsanity cannot be measured purely by statistical production.
Linsanity is a movement, both of the basketball and cultural persuasion. The days of him putting up 20 or more points in nine out of 10 games have passed, but the impact he has on fan bases has not.
Yes, fan bases. The point guard is not just a beloved figure in the streets of New York and the walls of Madison Square Garden, but anywhere the game of basketball is played.
That hasn't changed, even in his absence from the court with a knee injury, and it won't change as he spends the next six weeks rehabilitating a partially torn meniscus.
Despite being away from home, and despite Lin being out of the lineup, Linsanity was in full swing at the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Lin Jerseys weren't just scattered, but prevalent throughout the entire arena. And as the starting lineups were announced, there were not just a plethora of jeers at the mention of Baron Davis' name, but a collective groan because he wasn't Lin.
Lin's absence from the lineup ruined the opportunity to gauge how the crowd would respond when he touched the ball or converted a field goal, but their bursts of Lin-related energy throughout the game left little to be desired.
While walking throughout the different levels of the arena over the course of the game, sporadic chants of "Where's Lin?," "We Want Jeremy!" and "Baron Can't Lin!" could easily be heard.
What was even more staggering, though, was the amount of people that could be found on the ground floor food court venue while the game was still in progress.
These weren't fans quickly leaving the action to grab a bite to eat, purchase a beverage or even taking a restroom break, but these were fans standing around tables, sipping cocktails and having lengthy conversations. And many of these fans were sporting—yes, you guessed it—Lin jerseys.
There are always a fair share of New York fans in visiting cities, but never to this magnitude. And certainly never so many who dissociated themselves from the action.
So, when the opportunity arose to engage a number of bystanders in conversation, it was too good to pass up.
There had to be a reason they were removing themselves from the stands for an extended period of time; there had to be a reason why those who had paid top-shelf prices for tickets, were opting to forgo the game and spend their time huddled around a table, sipping mixed drinks that cost upwards of $15.
And there was.
"We came to see Lin," a fan donning a Jeremy Lin t-shirt said. "He's not playing, though, so we're not watching."
That's the Lin effect.
He's become the sole reason why some people pay the astronomical ticket prices that soar even higher when the Knicks are in town. He's the reason the less-than-casual basketball fans assemble in groups with signs and customized apparel.
And he's the reason why, when leaving the arena, there were just as many Lin fans staring at the ground as there were Hawks fans wholeheartedly riding their team's victory all the way into the parking garages.
Lin has become a worldwide icon with one of the largest fan bases the NBA has ever seen. His numbers have dropped off, but the hype surrounding him hasn't, not in New York and not on the road.
So, while a number of factoids can be taken away from the Knicks' 10-point loss to the Hawks in Atlanta, none is more noteworthy than the one that concerns the movement Lin inadvertently started.
Linsanity isn't dead, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
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