He was the first Asian-American to truly succeed at the highest level of pro basketball, a Harvard grad making a name for himself in a field other than politics or high finance, a 23-year-old kid making the most of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and then some.
And he did it all for the New York Knicks, at Madison Square Garden, in front of a fan base and a sports media machine that was hungry for heroes.
But what made Linsanity most intriguing—at least in the basketball world—was the fact that he managed to slip through the cracks as often as he did. In a sport where surprises are rendered rare on account of thorough scouting and player evaluation beginning at earlier and earlier ages, Lin was a genuine shock to the system.
How could everyone have passed on this kid? How could the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets have cut him in training camp during the same year, and how could the Knicks have come so close to severing ties with him before his breakout?
It's unlikely that we'll ever see so many captivating elements rolled into one NBA player, though these seven potential stars figure to have Eminem piping through their headphones on repeat this season.