Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The LINfection


Jeremy Lin will be, or better yet, already is the biggest story in sports this year.  What we are witnessing as it unfolds has gone beyond what an analyst can speculate, a statician can compile and a sport fan can comprehend.  This story differs when compared to every other sporting headline as it challenges everything that the sporting media has centered itself around: the ability to predict and forecast what is coming.  It has captivated people from all backgrounds solely because nobody saw this coming.

When LeBron James took his talents to South Beach, the whole world knew how great the Heat would be, but knew they wouldn't win a championship their first year.  When Tebow was drafted, everyone was well aware of his religious background, his college success but also his future struggles in becoming a NFL QB.  When the New England Patriots faced the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, all the analyst recognized all the matchup problems the Patriots would face against the Giants.  But with Lin, we are all faced with uncertainty.

An infection holds no discrimination.  Its method of transmission can vary depending on the population.  Its effects can go beyond the symptoms that we can witness on the surface.  Lin's effect goes beyond the impressive statline over the last 7 games.  It goes beyond the fact that he's the first American-bored Asian to play in the NBA.  It goes beyond the fact that he's led the New York Knicks to 7 straight wins.

Two years ago, the Knicks signed Amare Stoudemire as an attempt to build the franchise around a star, something the Knicks have lacked in recent memory.  A year ago, the Knicks gave up half their team to acquire Carmelo Anthony, giving them 2 legitimate All-Stars in a star-studded league.  Two days ago, people are wondering how Amare would fit in and Carmelo is facing criticism as to whether he can play with an undrafted, waiver-wire pick up point guard starting in his 6th start in his first real NBA season.  Come again?  One of the most dominate scorer and a Top 15 player in the league is being questioned about his abilities after he was suppose to be your franchise saviour that will take you to the promiseland.  This truly must be LINsanity or whatever other word you choose to force the prefix of LIN into.

Facebook has served as a portal of entry and exit for the LINfection.  I have always tried to bring in new blood into watching sports.  And yet I have failed.  But every night I am surprised at the people that are updating their status, uploading videos and commenting away on how impressive Lin's play is.  A player that isn't even a Top 10 guard in the league has single-handedly grasped the attention of non-sport fans and made the sport grow overnight.

The beauty of this story is as follows.  Not a single person in the world can tell you whether his stellar play will continue for another game, week or month.  Not even Lin himself.  Whether you're a sports fan, another player in the league, his teammates or even Coach D'Antoni are left stranded in awe everytime he comes off a pick-n-roll, calls for an isolation or launches up a last second 3 pointer. 

It simply should not matter whether the ball goes in, but merely on the fact that he is there shooting it on the biggest stage in the NBA at Madison Square Garden.

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