The Debate

What About that Jeremy Lin?

New York Knicks basketball star Jeremy Lin put in a remarkable finish last night. It’s a great story.

I’m not generally what you’d describe as a basketball fan, much less an expert on the sport. But it’s hard not to get a little caught up in the hype around the New York Knicks’ new star, Jeremy Lin.

Sports and Culture blogger John Duerden posed the perfectly reasonable dual questions of how good is Lin, and are four dazzling games too short a period to be judging his success? Well, it may still be too early, but we can now make that five dazzling games.

True, as the New York Times noted this morning, Lin faced a little more manhandling than usual from the Toronto Raptors, spending “a considerable amount of time on his back.”

But with the game tied at 87-87, and just seconds left on the clock, Lin bagged a 3-pointer to give the Knicks a last gasp win. And the crowd went wild as the Taiwanese-American extended his streak of 20 point-plus games to six.

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Speaking before the game, a modest Lin said that his success was a testament to the coaching staff and that being part of this team was the most important factor. Asked how hard it was to concentrate on playing basketball with all the hype going on around him, Lin said that he tried not to think about it. That will be even harder after last night’s performance.

It’s a great story for underdogs and also Asian-Americans, not least in a sport where success has been thin on the ground. And aside from a few sour grapes, it seems much of basketball is caught up in Linsanity.