Back in the summer of 2008, when Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain named an inexperienced Alaskan governor as his running mate, the nation was collectively stunned. But while pundits on the left regarded the move as a desperate attempt to rejuvenate a limp campaign, many conservatives found the magnetic candidate with an unlikely backstory irresistible. “Call it Palin-mania,” one story read. “The new cottage industry involves anything carrying her name.”
Coincidental similarities between the surnames of Sarah Palin and Jeremy Lin aside, the two unique underdogs share more in common than the ability to sell boatloads of merch. Just as Palin was beloved as a symbolic thumb in the eye of media “elites” and coastal liberals with fancy educations and quinoa fetishes, Lin, too, embodies everyman egalitarianism. A beauty queen who attended community college in Idaho can become the leader of the free world. The unheralded 12th man on the bench can be an NBA All-Star. If given the fair shot, gosh darn it, anyone can do anything.
In a way, Wednesday night marked the end of an era. About five minutes into the third quarter of New York's game against Sacramento, it became evident to everyone at Madison Square Garden that Jeremy Lin was not going to score 25 points or hit a game-winning buzzer-beater. After a quick, scintillating start, Lin settled into his role as a distributor. It's as though he's begun to set odd, nightly goals for himself — the 38 points against the Lakers, the 3-pointer against Toronto, and, in Wednesday night's 100-85 win over the Kings, 13 assists. When he hit a jumper to secure a double-double, the Garden erupted. The game was laughably out of reach by then, but nobody felt like leaving.
We sat next to a father from the Bronx who had lost his mind to Linsanity. “DON'T MESS UP HIS ASSISTS,” he shouted early on, each time a fellow Knick failed to capitalize on one of Lin's passes. “FIVE REBOUNDS. TRIPLE-DOUBLE. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!” he begged, once Lin got his 10th point. His daughter carefully unrolled her “To Linfinity and Beyond!” sign, which charmed even the pun-weary (namely, me).
The only person who might be more invested in Linsanity than me and my AZN basketball homies (what up, @MrEddieHuang!) is an unknown emcee named Mega Ran, who recently posted a tribute song online. For the short turnaround time, it’s a solid effort — love the T.I. track, the slow flow, and how hard he reps the Ivy League.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the breakout game of second-year Knicks backup point guard Jeremy Lin. In one of the most entertaining performances of the season, Lin led the Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the Nets with 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists. Even though I definitely became a Jeremy believer 'Myliever and expected him to show other flashes of brilliance in the future, I didn't expect that to happen in the following game.