New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin made his best move yet by switching agents after a breakout season full of unexpected highlights.
ESPN's Jared Zwerling reports that Lin hired agent Jim Tanner of the prestigious Washington law firm Williams & Connolly to represent him in basketball and marketing matters. Tanner will represent Lin in all areas of contractual agreements, marketing endorsements, licensing, personal appearances, media relations, community investments and other business opportunities. His former lead agent, Roger Montgomery, will collaborate with Tanner on free agency and other basketball-related matters.
NBA fans should expect nothing less. Lin handled his sudden fame with tremendous class. Every word he spoke made the 23-year-old seem well beyond his years. His press conferences put fellow well-spoken mega-star athlete Tim Tebow to shame.
Everything he touched turned to gold. The only problem is that Lin has yet to see any of it. Forbes' Matthew Kitchen reports that he made only $613,474 during the lockout shortened 66-game season.
"By comparison, the average salary of the other 29 starting NBA point guards this year is $5,227,434 and teammate Carmelo Anthony has banked more than twice Lin’s yearly take while sitting out the last seven games due to injury."
Anyone watching and listening benefited from Linsanity. Now it's his turn.
The first Chinese or Taiwanese-American to play in the NBA is now a restricted free agent. Bloomberg's Scott Soshnick recaps the value Linsantity instantly brought his franchise.
"He invigorated the team after joining the starting lineup on Feb. 6, fueling sales of merchandise and tickets, driving television ratings and helping the team’s parent company, Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG), to end a seven-week stalemate with Time Warner Cable Inc. that kept the provider’s 2.8 million subscribers in the New York area from seeing the Knicks. Ticket prices to games at Madison Square Garden tripled."
Lin now seeks a multimillion dollar contract as a reward. He should also cash in on a steady stream of endorsements. He deserves every penny. It's just hard to imagine Lin blowing his paycheck on the next installment of Cribs.
As far as the American Dream goes, it would be a shame to see such an inspirational story fade into the sunset. No athlete should be an idol, but Lin makes for a great role model.
Whether or not he has the talent to stick as a full-time NBA point guard remains to be seen. Either way, he brings enormous value to any NBA franchise and deserves to be compensated.
That now appears to be a likely scenario.
Zwerling calls Tanner one of the most respected agents in the game.
"He's been ranked as one of "Washington's Top Lawyers" for media and sports law by Washingtonian Magazine several times in the past few years. In addition, his law firm was ranked No. 1 last year in Washington, D.C., and eighth-best in the country by the Vault Guide."
Lin may never again hold an opportunity like the one he has this summer. Putting his financial future in the best hands possible seems like common sense. Hopefully he will be rewarded for continuing to follow that solid track record.
All too often the actions of many people in similar situations only merit common cents.