Amid the echo chamber of dissent surrounding the Jeremy Lin signing, there's a very interesting historical question that hasn't really been answered. As sports fans, we often want to believe that we're seeing something new and fresh, something that's never happened before. The reality is that most things we see have happened before and will almost surely happen again. The last nine months of Jeremy Lin's career, though? That might actually be unprecedented in the history of American sport.
Think about it. Try to find a historically comparable situation where all three of the following things occurred:
1. A player at the beginning of his professional career without any status as a top prospect was acquired by a team off of the waiver wire/from the free agent market as freely available talent.
2. That same player promptly played at an elite level for a portion of exactly one season.
3. That player departed the team during the subsequent offseason.