ESPN tweeted out that Linsanity was introduced to world ten years ago today. 10 YEARS?! I had to double check this. Where the hell did a decade go? I remember watching this so vividly. The Knicks were down bad, and Jeremy Lin was the spark the team so desperately needed.
One of the greatest come up stories in the sport, and an absolute sensation that helped elevate the Knicks into the postseason that year, how the hell did this all start?
The first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225), Jeremy Lin was a stud for Harvard.
Going undrafted in 2010, Lin signed a two-year deal with his hometown Warriors. He was lowkey at the time, being assigned to their D-League affiliate a few go arounds, and only averaging 2.6 points on 38.9 percent shooting in 29 games. After that, the 2011 lockout occurred, and he played a few games in the CBA in the meantime.
The Warriors were out on Lin, after trying to free some money up in an attempt to make an offer for DeAndre Jordan. He was claimed by the Rockets, who had multiple guards at the time, they waived him on Christmas Eve to clear some payroll.
Along come the Knicks, who no longer had Chauncy Billups, plus Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert fell to injury. They claimed him off waivers, and originally was just competing for a backup role. With some Eerie Bay Hawk stints and limited playtime, Lin played only 55 minutes through the Knicks' first 23 games. Fear of getting cut, things were looking grim for the guard. To make matters worse for the Knicks, but Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire were out too. This was his only shot.
February 4th, 2012
The Knicks were on a massive skid, losing 11 of their last 13/ Coach Mike D'Antoni needed something new and February 4th was the day the changed the season. After not playing much the past few months, Jeremy Lin checked in 36 minutes against the Nets.
He saw the opportunity and he took it.
25 points, 7 assists, and five rebounds, the Knicks won 99-92.
"This night, it just hasn't really sunk in yet to be honest. It's like I'm still kind of in shock about everything that happened but I'm just trying to soak it all in right now." - Jeremy Lin
February 10th, 2012
Two straight wins, and Lin was contributing. It was a nice little feel good story, but it was sure to end. Right? Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were in town, and everyone was expecting an absolute blowout. Everyone except Lin.
An out-of-nowhere performance that astonished the crowd occurred. Lin outdueled the Kobe Bryant, and dropped 38 points as the crowd chanted "MVP!".
A star was born. Linsanity was the real deal.
The month of Lin resulted in 10 wins and 4 losses, including 7 straight. He was absolutely balling including these stat lines against some of the bigger names in the league.
28 PTS, 8 AST vs D-Will
23 PTS, 10 AST vs Wall
38 PTS vs Kobe
20 PTS, 8 AST vs Rubio
27 PTS, 11 AST vs TOR
March 31, 2012 - Present
Unfortunately, the brief explosion fizzled. Lin would undergo surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and would never play for the Knicks again. Lin had played in 35 games for the Knicks, averaging 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game. D'Anotni resigned, the team skidded, but still somehow managed to sneak in as a seven seed. If it wasn't for Lin's efforts, they would've missed the playoffs that year completely.
That offseason, the Knicks had interest in bringing him back, but ultimately did not match the deal that the Rockets offered (3y, $25M). Fans like myself were angered, but it ended up being the right move in the long run. He started 82 games for the Rockets in 2012, averaging over 13 points per game, but bounced around 6 teams in the next few years not catching any wind. He did however win a title with the Raptors in 2019, becoming the first Asian American to win a NBA title.
I'll always appreciate the sensation that occurred and always will have respect for Jeremy Lin. That was an exciting time in New York, and hopefully that type of moment can happen to this team soon.