Johnny Goes Linsane!

February 21, 2012

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LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 21:  Jeremy Lin #7 of t...

I guess I finally have to write about it. Just when you thought Tim Tebow was the biggest story ever here comes Jeremy Lin. The Knicks are much improved since the emergence of Lin, and the only thing more impressive than his statistics on the floor in his first ten games is the price of one of his Rookie Cards on eBay.

Lin is the first notable Asian-American player to make a splash on the NBA scene. No doubt due to his ethnic background he is garnishing a ton of interest from overseas as well.

Our Monarch of the Soap Boxers, Kosmo, even wrote TWO article about Jeremy Lin last week (Jeremy Lin Reminds Me of Kurt Warner and ESPN Apologizes for Calling Jeremy Lin a Chink) and that is saying a lot from Kosmo who is totally a baseball and luge guy…I don’t EVER remember having him taking any interest in NBA basketball.


LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21:  Jeremy Lin #7 ...

Lin in his Golden State days. Warriors brass must be kicking themselves.

This has been a perfect storm for Lin, He has bounced from the Golden State Warriors to the Houston Rockets with stops primarily in the D-League (the phrase used to coin the developmental league for NBA players)

The Knicks scooped him up this year and Lin found himself at the right place at the right time. Many injuries to key players on the team, a lack of fire or desire or whatever you want to call it but bottom line is the New York Knickerbockers were not winning games.

Enter Jeremy Lin – and things turned around. Since February 4th when he was inserted full-time into the lineup, he has been on fire. The only notable deficiency really at this point – and Lin admits it himself – is that he is turning the ball over too frequently.


The Knicks were beat at home last night against the New Jersey Nets, and it appeared to be due to two main factors. First, a number of players that have been out of the lineup were back in action including Carmello Anthony and Baron Davis. Matter of fact it was an injury to Davis that really propelled Lin into the limelight and gave him his chance. Secondly, some red-hot shooting by Deron Williams of the Nets.


The Knicks looked like a team trying to find a rhythm, which is not unusual this year. The offense that the Knicks run – if you want to call it an offense, is primarily spreading the floor on the half court and allowing for pick and rolls, drive and dishes and pick and pops. Sorry for the basketball jargon here, but basically think of what they do as similar to the Dallas Mavericks offense….a lot of guys that are great one on one players and great shooters so they try to space out the defenders as much as possible.

One of the keys to running an “offense” such as this is familiarity with each other, and keeping proper spacing on the floor. Last night it was apparent with Anthony as well as Davis in the Lineup that this was out of sorts to a large extent. This should improve as they team plays more together with actual game minutes.

Also teams will be better now that Jeremy Lin has played a few games and will begin to try different strategies against him defensively. It will be interesting to see how he continues to refine his game in the upcoming weeks.


WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22:  Sheets of freshly m...

Those who read here regularly know I also follow the sports card and memorabilia marketplace. Of course with the instantaneous popularity of Jeremy Lin, there are some folks trying to snap up his scarce rookie cards as well as make a quick profit.

There is a Jeremy Lin 2010-11 National Treasures Prime Patch Auto Jersey numbered to just 20 of 25 made that is currently bid up over $20,000 and the reserve price is not yet met!  Safe to say the seller that has a reserve higher than that amount is Lin-sane and the fact that someone has bid it up that high already is Lin-credible!

Until next time…Stay Classy Palo Alto, California


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ESPN Apologizes For Calling Jeremy Lin A Chink

February 19, 2012

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: Jeremy Lin #17 of ...

As you probably know, Jeremy Lin has been taking the NBA by storm lately.  He even managed to get me to write an article about him last week.  Considering that I’ve very apathetic about the NBA for nearly twenty years, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.

On Friday night, the seven game winning streak of the Knicks was snapped.  Lin’s nine turnovers – eight in the first half – didn’t help New York’s chance.  He’d turned the ball over eight times in a game two other times, and would finish with seven in Sunday’s game (six in the second half), and while the turnovers have brought some negative press in otherwise glowing media reports of his exploits, it was different on Friday night because the Knicks lost.

On Saturday morning, I noticed a headline on ESPN.  They were apologizing for a racist Lin-related headline that had appeared on their mobile site for a half hour, beginning at 2:30 AM.  By Sunday, they had upped the ante and apologized for thee incidents.  In addition to the headline, an ESPNews anchor had said something inappropriate, as had a commentator on a radio show.

ESPN took decisive action.  While the commentator was not an employee (and thus out of their reach) the anchor and the headline guy were employees.  The anchor was suspended for 30 days … and the headline guy was fired.  ESPN (smartly) did not repeat the comment.

This made me very curiously.  I had heard all kinds of Lin-related comments (Linsanity, etc) could could not figure out how to turn “Lin” into a racist term.  So I hit Google.

Chink in the Armor

Yeah, that was the headline.  It was referring to Lin’s propensity to turn the ball over – which is fine – but used a racist term to do it.

This is a guy who was born in the United States, graduated from arguably the most prestigious college in the country (Harvard), and played the one professional sport that was completely invented by an American (as opposed to evolving from other sports).

And still, in 2012, some people see him as simply a “chink”?  I applaud ESPN for taking action.  Racism has no place in society.  The word of sports is predicated upon the concept of a meritocracy.  If you shoot a free throw, the basket doesn’t care about your race – but simply whether your aim is true.  We should judge athletes by their stats, and not the color of their skin.  And that ideal should apply off the playing field a well – judging others by their accomplishments and not their gender, race, religion, age, or sexual orientation.


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Jeremy Lin Reminds Me Of …

February 15, 2012

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 08: Jeremy Lin #17 o...

Not getting much bench time these days. Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I haven’t followed the NBA much since Magic.  I don’t mean the Orlando Magic, even the vintage variety with Shaquille O’Neal tearing down baskets (literally).  I mean Magic Johnson, who retired (for the first time) nearly twenty years ago.

Since then, I followed Isiah Thomas and the bad boy Pistons for a while, and then followed Alonzo Mourning for pretty much the duration of his career.  But my interest in the NBA was in a gradual decline and dropped to almost zero by the time Alonzo retired.

After all these years, I once again have an interest in the NBA.  Not because of LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, but because of Jeremy Lin.  I’m getting live in-game updates of Knicks games.  The Knicks.  I’ve never been a fan of the Knicks, and they have often been on my “hated teams” list.

As a high school player, Lin was the player of the year in his state.  His state wasn’t Iowa, Idaho, or Montana.  It was California.  The most populous state in the nation.  And yet, the scholarship offers didn’t come  No interest from his dream school, UCLA.  No interest from hometown school Stanford.  So Lin packed his bags and traveled cross-country to his fallback school.

When was the last time you heard Harvard referred to as a fallback school?  But for Lin – talented both on the court and in the classroom, Harvard wasn’t where he wanted to be.  He wanting to be banging bodies with the hoops stars at the big schools, proving his mettle on the big stage.  Instead, he became a big fish in a small pond, starring for Harvard – and facing racist commends from opposing crowds and at least one opposing player.

The Harvard grad couldn’t find a job immediately after graduation.  He finally latched on with the Golden State Warriors in 2010 and played sparingly.  He was waived before this season began and claimed by the Rockets, who had him for twelve days before waiving him themselves.  Then the Knicks gave the Jeremy Lin carousel a spin.

Last year, Lin played a total of 284 minutes and scored 76 points.  Prior to February 4, Lin had played a total of 43 minutes this year and scored 27 points.  Then came the Linsanity. Crippled by injuries and running out of players, the Knicks were forced to play Lin. The results:

Date Min Pts Ast Reb TO
Feb 4 36 25 7 5 1
Feb 6 45 28 8 2 8
Feb 8 36 23 10 4 2
Feb 10 39 38 7 4 6
Feb 11 39 20 8 6 6
Feb 14 43 27 11 2 8

He sealed the Feb 11 game from the free throw line (after a lackluster second half performance) and won last night’s game in dramatic fashion by drilling a three pointer with less than a second to spare.  In addition to skills, the guy has ice in his veins.  He’s still a bit turnover-prone, but I’d expect those numbers to come down a bit when he gets used to the game a bit more.  And the most important statistic of all?  The Knicks are 6-0 in these games, rising from the ashes of a 8-15 start to pull to within a game of .500 at 14-15.  The Knicks are now firmly in contention for a playoff spot – something that seem an impossibility ten days ago.

Why is everyone suddenly a fan of Jeremy Lin?  It’s not because he’s Asian-American.  While that’s unusual in the NBA, it’s not the reason.  It’s because Lin is the consummate underdog, proving that he can play once the coach finally gave him the ball.  Seriously, when he went head to head with Kobe Bryant last Friday, was anyone actually cheering for Kobe?

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 16:  Quarterback Kurt Wa...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

You know who he reminds me of?  A guy who played football in one of the largest cities in his state, was passed up by the two largest universities in the state, starred at the state’s 1-AA school and bounced around football’s minor leagues before getting the ball due to a teammate’s injury – and then excelling once he had the opportunity to play.

Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.  Hy-Vee’s most famous former employee – Kurt Warner.


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