Discovering Jeremy Lin
First, I had to word vomit about him (on my blog) incoherently, because the Jeremy Lin story should not happen. In today’s sporting world we know tomorrow’s great players yesterday. I mean, how long did we wait on LeBron, abide the brief college stints of Durant and Melo, or fantasize about the arrival of Ricky Rubio. With the number of scouts, summer camps, sponsored tournaments, and the availability of online footage, the tour de force of the last week that has introduced everyone in the basketball world to Mr. Lin should not have happened. Instead of asking where did this guy come from, we should be saying, well, this is what we thought would happen when _______________ (insert the franchise of your choice) drafted Lin out of Harvard. But, in a world of infinite data and endless observation, he wasn’t drafted, wasn’t wanted, and has now broadsided us like an unseen torpedo, fired from a submarine we didn’t even know existed.
Scientists supposedly find new species of life in the rainforest all the time. Most of us are not excited by this fact. Tree frogs, giant spiders, and fruit bats make most people, who are no longer in elementary school, yawn. However, Jeremy Lin is the exception. When we journey down on the Amazon with our petrie dishes, beakers, and test tubes, we explode out of our seats at the sight of him coming off a screen and roll, spinning in every direction, and making an acrobatic layup. A new species of flying squirrel does not give birth to such emotion, but Jeremy Lin makes us anxious in anticipation every time he touches the ball.
Ever since Mike D’Antoni became head coach of the Knicks in 2008, people have speculated about when he would acquire a point guard to run his offense and when said point guard would arrive. In the meantime, Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton, Chauncey Billups, and a host of others auditioned for the role, but in the back of everyone’s minds was the idea that the coach who once fought a guerilla style war against the Spurs and the Lakers would reunite with his fiery field general, Steve Nash.
The reunion was the dream, the hope, the fated path to glory, especially as every other point guard proved incapable of either running D’Antoni’s team the way he wanted, was viewed as expendable, or had trouble jiving with Amar’e and Melo, but if Lin continues on his present course, then all of those issues should become moot, because if Lin’s week in the sun has taught us anything, it’s that he not only makes his teammates better but, with every smiling fist pump, makes them enjoy playing basketball more than they did without him. In other words, D’Antonio can quit pouring out his heart in letters to his former point guard because he has found Nash’s spirit lurking at the end of his bench, already wearing a number seventeen Knicks jersey.
The Jeremy Lin phenomenon has been blowing towards our television and computer screens for a week now. Raps about him have appeared on YouTube!, he’s a trending topic almost nightly on Twitter, and who knows how many t-shirts bearing puns of his name have been printed and sold on street corners, but until tonight, when he went toe to toe with Kobe Bryant, answering the Hall of Famer with daggers and venom that proved to be just as deadly as the Black Mamba’s, many people, outside of New York’s fanbase, viewed Lin with the skepticism of a meteorologist monitoring Gulf streams in late summer, questioning whether a Tropical Storm had the staying power to become a hurricane. Irene may have underwhelmed the City, but it appears that Hurricane Jeremy is going to be much more than anyone bargained for, and in a day when technology and specialization have rendered almost every piece of mystery into a prescription drug, a percentage in a poll, or a multiple choice question that quality is quite unique indeed.
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