Houston, the Rockets are finally ready for liftoff.
After what seemed like half a decade of waiting around for Yao Ming to get back to full strength, GM Darryl Morey did the next best thing and acquired Jeremy Lin, the most renowned Asian-American basketball player in NBA history.
The move was a savvy one for a number of reasons, some of which stretch far beyond Lin's abilities on a basketball court.
First of all, Lin is without a doubt the first marquee name the Rockets franchise has had the privilege of calling their own since Yao retired in 2011, which is a big reason why Morey was so eager to grossly overpay for a player who has less than a full season of regular NBA action under his belt.
Lin's impact on the New York Knicks from a basketball standpoint was unmistakable, as the 23-year-old point guard seemingly singlehandedly willed the Knicks to nine wins in his first 12 stars.
However, what was even more shocking was what transpired off the court, as Lin became a national sensation overnight, evidenced by the fact that at season's end, his jersey was the second-best seller in the entire league behind only reigning MVP Derrick Rose (according to NBA.com).
In Houston, Lin instantly brings an aurora of excitement to the team, as the Rockets can lay claim to the NBA's "it" player of the 2011-12 season.
No, Lin didn't actually cause MSG's stock to drop (per Yahoo!'s Eric Freeman), but the fact that his departure caused people to wonder aloud whether he had an impact on the stock of a multi-billion dollar company speaks volumes about his impact on the city.
Morey, who graduated MBA from MIT, clearly recognized that having a player as internationally adored as Lin on the roster can only benefit the franchise as a whole.
The fans in Houston no longer have to talk themselves into being excited about efficient-yet-decidedly bland stars like Luis Scola and Kevin Martin because now, they have the biggest worldwide phenomenon to hit the NBA since Yao in their city.
Likewise, fans in Asia and all over the world who may have lost interest in the Rockets since Yao's retirement now have a reason to go out and buy Rockets jerseys once again.
Whether the acquisition of Jeremy Lin translates into wins and postseason appearances has yet to be determined, but there's no questioning the fact that Lin has put the Rockets back on the map in terms of worldwide popularity and appeal.
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