Asian-American NBA player fuels 'Linsanity,' helps Knicks regain hope - Mainichi Daily News

NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- It may be too early to compare Jeremy Lin to Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, but the New York Knicks' Taiwanese-American point guard has catapulted to celebrity status over the past weeks with stellar play and late-game heroics in the U.S. National Basketball Association.

The 23-year-old's breakout performance came on Feb. 4, when he scored 25 points off the bench and dished out seven assists in helping the Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Lin's showing not only impressed fans -- sparking an international craze dubbed "Linsanity" -- but also saved the Harvard University graduate from being cut by his third NBA franchise in as many months.

Released by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets prior to the lockout-shortened regular season, Lin became the Knicks' third-string point guard in late December.

The 191-centimeter Lin saw only 55 minutes of playing time in the team's first 23 games and was likely to be dropped before Feb. 10, the date at which his full-season salary became guaranteed.

Since debuting as a starter on Feb. 6 against the Utah Jazz, he has averaged over 24 points and nine assists per game. He scored a career-high 38 points in a convincing win over the Los Angeles Lakers, converted a key free throw down the stretch as the Knicks snuck past the Timberwolves, and iced the Toronto Raptors with a game-winning three-pointer in the last seconds of regulation.

More importantly, the Knicks have recovered hope for what looked like a dismal season. After losing 11 of the 13 games prior to Lin's emergence, New York rode a seven-game win streak back to .500.

In the meantime, "Linsanity" has reached fever pitch, with demand for Knicks tickets soaring, while jerseys and shirts bearing Lin's playing number 17 have quickly been selling out.

Born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Taiwan, Lin is one of only a handful of Asian-Americans to have played in the NBA and, according to U.S. media, is the first American player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent.

In the midst of a media frenzy that has put him on the covers of both Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine's Asia Edition, Lin admitted that all the attention was a bit overwhelming.

"Things are changing so much and everyone wants to talk to me and my family," Lin was quoted as saying in an ESPN report. "We're very low-key people and private people, so sometimes it's a little tough."

"But when I get on the court and I play with our team, none of us are thinking about all of this other stuff that's going on."

Since securing his place on the Knicks' roster, Lin has reportedly sublet an apartment in the New York City suburb of White Plains, close to the team's training facility in Greenburgh. He had previously been staying with his brother Josh, a graduate student at New York University's school of dentistry, while his NBA contract was in limbo.

22 Feb, 2012

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