W roundtable: What Jeremy Lin means for the NBA

Jeremy Lin was cut by two teams before finding his niche with the Knicks. What does his emergence say about the NBA and mean for the league?

Lin no surprise to those in the know

By Kate Fagan

At the 2010 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, you couldn't walk anywhere without a scout, general manager or coach asking, "Have you seen this Harvard kid?" The summer-league buzz around Lin -- in one game he went tit-for-tat against No. 1 overall pick John Wall -- earned the 6-foot-3 guard contract offers from three NBA teams.

A year later, as the last guy off the bench for the Golden State Warriors, Lin was receiving explosive cheers just for standing at the bench to stretch.

Yes, Linsanity may have only just reached the masses, but those within the NBA world always knew he was a headline story waiting to happen because his Asian heritage delivered him the rare ability to connect with a basketball-crazed population.

And Lin's scoring explosion with the New York Knicks is exactly what the NBA needed: a compelling, transcendent storyline during a lockout-shortened season. Last season, casual fans tuned in to root against LeBron James; this season, they'll tune in to root for Jeremy Lin.

All he does is Lin, Lin, Lin

By Sarah Spain

Jeremy Lin, cut by both the Warriors and the Rockets this past December, was nearly let go by the Knicks a week and a half ago, a move that might have caused him to reconsider his dream of playing in the NBA. Instead, injuries thrust Lin into the Knicks' starting lineup, and his play thrust him into the spotlight.

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Jared Jeffries (9) and the Knicks are feeding off Jeremy Lin's play.

Lin has led a formerly flailing New York squad to five straight wins, setting a couple of league records along the way. The reigning NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week accumulated the most points by any player through his first four starts (109) since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77, and he's the first NBA player to put up at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first four starts. It's safe to say he won't be back playing with the Reno Bighorns in the D-League again anytime soon.

We all love a good underdog story, and an undrafted Harvard alumnus doing well in the country's biggest market sure does make for good headlines. ("Linsanity!" "Linning!" and "Lincredible!" to name just a few.) The onslaught of Lin-related puns and his near permanence among Twitter's trending topics have caused many to compare his rise to that of Broncos QB Tim Tebow. Lin never had the "Heisman moments" Tebow did in college, though, so his emergence is more like that of a YouTube singing star who leaps from total obscurity straight to email inboxes all over America. Subject line: "You gotta see this guy!!"

Lin may stay hot for the rest of the season, or he may cool down with the return of scorers Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Either way, Lin's jump from the Reno Events Center to MSG gives hope to all the D-Leaguers. Owners, GMs and coaches may even feel compelled to give a second or third look to the guys who didn't play for a college powerhouse and don't look like your average star. Nobody wants to be the one to overlook the next Jeremy Lin.

Lin's story strikes chord with Asian-Americans

By Amanda Rykoff

At this point, you all know the Jeremy Lin story. A 6-foot-3 Asian-American point guard from Harvard goes undrafted, gets cut from two NBA teams and lands with the point-guard-starving New York Knicks. He scores 109 total points -- including 38 in a win against the vaunted Lakers -- the most by anyone in his first four career starts as a pro since the merger in 1976-77. If you wrote up Lin's story as a scripted drama and sent it to studio executives in Hollywood, it would be rejected as too far-fetched. Yet this is really happening.

In just one week, Lin has become a basketball and cultural phenomenon. People who never cared about the NBA are paying attention.

What Lin means to the Asian-American community and its NBA fan base cannot be understated. Danny Chau, an Asian-American basketball blogger at Hardwood Paroxysm, put it best in his post, "What I See In Jeremy Lin."

"Every single one of his possessions [against the Lakers] had me on the floor, overwhelmed with pride and unfiltered elation. I'd never screamed so loud, and it'd been a long time since a single game moved me to tears. Whether it's been officially bestowed upon him or not, Jeremy Lin carries the hopes and dreams of entire Asian generations on his shoulders. I struggle to think of another moment where we as a community had been so proud of who we are."

Will Lin's Cinderella story continue? I don't know. But the NBA and Asian-American community will be watching. Except for those of us in New York City who don't have MSG thanks to a dispute with Time Warner Cable. If Linsanity results in a deal between the two, we'll know he's truly transcended basketball.

Lin story closer to NBA norm

By Adena Andrews

Jeremy Lin's story provides great Linspiration for anyone. No matter what Lindustry you're Lin, you can Linclude his rise to success in your daily life.

Now that I've gotten the obligatory Lin puns out the way, his story -- being cut by two teams and emerging as a savior for the New York Knicks -- further proves that the NBA is where amazing happens.

Amazing is when a 23-year-old economics major from Harvard comes off the bench to lead his team on a five-game winning streak in the toughest city in the country. Meanwhile, his three All-Star teammates just sit and watch. Hollywood couldn't write a better story than Lin has created in New York.

His story lets fans and detractors of the NBA know that the league isn't just filled with superstar egos who ditch their cities when a better opportunity comes along. Most players don't live lavishly with cars more expensive than the average person's home. Lin slept on his teammate's couch and stayed in his brother's apartment until a few days ago, when the Knicks guaranteed his contract.

Most people peg NBA players as extravagant and self-absorbed, but that may be just 1 percent of the league. The majority of players in the NBA are like Lin. They were told they would never make it to the league, so they put in years of sweat equity just to be the 15th man on someone's bench.

Lin's success should tell the 15th man on every roster to never stop believing because your moment can come when you least expect it. Never stop running hard, never stop practicing your ballhandling and keep working on your jumper. Because like rapper Suga Free said, "If you stay ready, you ain't got to get ready."

Linsanity draws non-fans to NBA

Melissa Jacobs

Jeremy Lin's malleable name is so perfect for the moment. Linsanity. Lincredible. Lin the zone. Lin is all of the above and then some. His emergence is great for a league that most casual fans, me included, don't generally pay attention to until the playoffs. Lin has changed that. Not only is he drawing in sports fans who don't want to miss a Linute of Knicks ball; he's also drawing in non-NBA fans.

This past weekend, The New York Times profiled a SoHo bar jam-packed with children of Asian immigrants. Many of them were new to basketball. This included one woman who was baffled to discover it was basketball, and not football, that Lin was playing. When you have a player so intriguing he is drawing in fans who don't even know what sport they're watching, I'd say that's a win-win for the NBA. Oops, I mean Lin-Lin.

Lin surprise good for NBA brand

By Michelle Smith

Jeremy Lin's emergence makes you wonder how many under-the-radar guys there are who could play like Lin but never got a chance.

Lin was the only guy who knew what everybody else didn't know until last week. He went to Palo Alto High and didn't get offered a scholarship across the street at Stanford. He came out of Harvard, which has produced only three NBA players. He was cut by two other NBA teams.

Sometimes, people surprise you.

And the NBA should be loving this surprise. It's almost as good for business as watching the superstars play. And often more appealing.

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