Surely those two words on that brief line above were enough to get just about anyone visiting this site to click and read. That is what “Lin-sanity” has done to us.
And the New York Knicks and the NBA are absolutely loving it.
Lin’s face is plastered everywhere now and everyone wants a piece of him. There Va-Lin-tines Day headlines in the New York Post. There are the back orders and rush orders for replica Knicks No. 17 jerseys and other Lin gear. The homemade signs and shirts are probably the most original and the least profitable. But it all feeds the mania.
So too does the massive response financially to the Lin-mania.
Darren Rovell of CNBC tried to quantify Lin’s impact for the Knicks (h/t Ken Berger of CBS Sports). He estimates that web traffic at the Knicks Web site has increased “550 percent” the last week. Madison Square Garden stock hit a 52-week high Monday. That is pretty good for what Rovell estimates is a $25,000 per week investment.
Not to mention the fact, the Knicks have not lost since Lin was inserted into the starting lineup.
Yes, the media and the New York fans are eating up everything Lin right now. But no one has felt the liberation and impact of the Lin story than the Asian-American population.
Whether Lin likes it or not, or even if he realizes it, part of the story is the impact of having a star player of Asian-American descent forcing Americans to talk about racial stereotypes and the pre-conceived definition of Asian-Americans. Lin is not the stereotyped “Tiger Mom” kid, despite that Harvard degree. He is, after all, playing a sport that is not too populated with Asian-born, let alone Asian-American, players.
Basketball fans in China, who are experiencing their first year of NBA without national hero and icon Yao Ming on any roster, are eating up Lin too.
Keith Bradsher of The New York Times reports that Lin’s jerseys are flying off the racks in China too… even the counterfeit ones. There even appears to be a controversy brewing in China about where Lin’s family is actually from — his parents grew up in Taiwan, which is a whole different political question for that region.
Lin though is capturing the imaginations. His social media and micro-blogging following has skyrocketed. He is one of the most talked about people in China and is serving as something of an inspiration to the Christian minority in China — something that has the Chinese government a little bit on edge as state media de-emphasizes Lin’s strong religious beliefs.
All the macro-world impact stuff aside though, Lin has really found his way into a niche the NBA needed filled. And he has really caught everyone’s imagination in a big big way.
Both on and off the court, I am sure the Knicks and the NBA could not be happier.