If you need any sign of the impact of Jeremy Lin on the NBA, look no further than the schedule for press conferences preceding Friday night’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
Lin will not be made available to the media prior to Team Shaq’s practice for the Rising Stars Challenge. Instead, the media will get to talk to Lin tonight… two hours before the game… in a press conference.
Expecting the large media crush and desire to talk to Lin, the NBA probably rightly decided to give him his special time. It is another layer to the already incredible ascendancy for Lin. Even coming off of last night’s disappointing performance against the Heat, Lin is going to be the center of attention Friday night for his surprise appearance and late addition to the roster.
“Linsanity” is in full effect.
More than anything else, this weekend is the international media’s first real chance to talk to him. And with at least two countries — the U.S. and China — hungry for more Lin coverage, this could prove to be a big weekend for Lin. All in a day’s work for the latest overnight sensation.
Lin questions were asked of a lot of NBA superstars, but the highest praise came from one of his teammates, fellow Rising Stars competitor Landry Fields.
“I think it’s moreso the player. He has a very high Basketball IQ which serves him well,” Fields said after the team’s practice on Friday. “He’s handling it perfect. If they made a book on how to handle the media and all this pressure, he would be an example. He’s very humble, down to earth. I can’t say more about the kid.”
Among the NBA All Stars asked about Lin, Dwight Howard had glowing praise for the overnight sensation and Andre Iguodala feigned bewilderment at him. Lin, of course, will get his taste of the All-Star spotlight when he has his pre-game press conference at Amway Center before Friday’s event and then when he takes the floor himself for Team Shaq in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Lin is the rage right now everywhere.
There are so many aspects to this story from the amazing out-of-nowhere part of the story to the way Lin’s mere presence in the spotlight seems to challenge all pre-conceived notions of what it means to “athletic” or “an athlete.”
No place is seeing this more than China where the state runs the elite sports academies and the vast opportunities they might provide.
“Mr. Lin is, put plainly, precisely everything that China’s state sport system cannot possibly produce,” G.E. of The Economist writes. “If Mr. Lin were to have been born and raised in China, his height alone might have denied him entry into China’s sport machine, as Time‘s Hannah Beech points out: ‘Firstly, at a mere 6-foot3 –relatively short by basketball standards — Lin might not have registered with Chinese basketball scouts, who in their quest for suitable kids to funnel into the state sport system are obsessed with height over any individual passion for hoops.’ Even when Mr. Lin was still a young boy, one look at his parents, each of unremarkable stature, would have made evaluators sceptical.”
This makes the Lin international phenomena, even in China, that much more complex. Lin is challenging American stereotypes, but also challenging Chinese stereotypes of athletes.
It is another layer to this incredible story that has taken over the NBA this year. Lin will get his showcase during All-Star Weekend now. And another chance to amaze us all.