The 2012 ESPY's kicked off with a little Linsanity. The first award handed out was for the breakthrough athlete, and it went to none other than Jeremy Lin, and when I say none other, I mean it.
There is no one else that had any hope of winning this award. Lin was nominated with Anthony Davis, Robert Griffin III, Rob Gronkowski and Alex Morgan. All of these people certainly earned their nomination; they were just unlucky enough to earn it in a year in which they had no shot.
Jeremy Lin could actually lay claim to being the biggest breakthrough athlete of all time.
In the span of about two weeks, Lin went from being a no-name basketball player struggling to make an NBA roster to an international superstar. His rush to stardom was simply staggering.
Lin was securely locked to the pine of the Knicks bench. It was rare if he even got into a game. Then, on February 4, he got some major minutes. He scored 25 points and netted seven assists in that game against the Nets, and the Knicks won, which was extremely rare at that time.
Lin went on to score at least 20 points in seven of the Knicks' next eight games, and they won seven of those eight games, and by the end of that stretch, Lin was the hottest ticket in sports.
You couldn't flip on a TV or look at a newspaper for more than a second without running into images of Lin.
Lin's numbers came back down to earth a bit, but he continued to be a very viable NBA point guard, until a knee injury ended his season.
Lin's performance and the fact he was doing it in the media spotlight of New York made for a tidal wave of publicity, and there is simply no way any other athlete was going to match that kind of breakout criteria.