Bank Shots: Sad to see Linsanity go
I saw a male student wearing a Jeremy Lin shirt this morning on my way to class, and couldn’t help but chuckling to myself. That poor kid, the one I saw on campus, bought into all of the media hype surrounding a 23-year-old basketball player who burst onto the scene in the biggest media market in the world and gave the greatest arena on this planet life it’d be lacking since the days of Patrick Ewing.
Lin came out of nowhere, going from the end of the Knicks bench to the starting lineup in early February. He took us on a magic carpet ride, equipped fully with the Steppenwolf song, for a solid month and a half, captivating the streets of New York and the covers of the tabloids and magazines. Lin was featured on the Sports Illustrated cover in back-to-back weeks, and I can only imagine how many days he graced the last page of The Daily News in NYC.
The huge Asian population in New York embraced Lin immediately and accepted him as their favorite player. Forget the days of trading half the team for Carmelo Anthony and paying $100 million plus for Amar’e Stoudemire. Lin was the main attraction under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and every city in which they played.
There was that 38-point game against the Lakers on a Sunday afternoon at MSG and that game winning 3-pointer in Toronto four nights later. People thought he was for real after outdueling Dirk Nowitzki with a 28-point, 14-assist game on Feb. 19. But when the calendar turned to March, Lin lost his luster and the Knicks lost their way. His shooting percentage was way down, the assist numbers weren’t eclipsing double digits and the Knicks were losing. In February, Lin averaged 20.9 points and 8.4 assists while leading New York to a 10-3 record during his time in the starting lineup. In March, Lin’s averages dropped to 14.6 points and 6.3 assists while the Knicks’ record fell to 6-7.
Last month, Lin tore the meniscus in his left knee and had arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage. The normal recovery time for an injury like that is six weeks, which would put him out through the NBA playoffs. Basically, with the tear of ligament, Linsanity was over.
Carmelo returned from his own injury, Iman Shumpert has taken over as the team’s primary point guard, and the ageless Baron Davis has been given more and more minutes. The Knicks will make the playoffs, barring a major collapse with just five games remaining, but they’ll do so without the guy who saved their season.
They’ll play in a win-or-go-home situation without the player who made them relevant again and the singular athlete who gave hope to an entire city that an underdog can win when given an opportunity.
In a way, I feel bad that Linsanity had to come to an end like it did. I sort of wish he was still playing, and playing well, so that he could prove to everyone that he wasn’t a fluke and he belongs in the NBA as a starting guard. I love stories like Lin’s, but sadly we won’t get to see him again this year. I know Dom Mazzetti is going to be sad that the Knicks aren’t going to go all the way this year, with Lin leading them. We’ll have to wait a year until Lin takes them to Lindonesia.