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DeFranks: The world should get to know Jeremy Lin (Feb. 14)

Matthew DeFranks | Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Tuesday. Happy Feb. 14. But most importantly, Happy Va-Lin-tine’s day.

While much of the world celebrates the romance between two lovebirds, small pockets of the globe will celebrate the newly created holiday that worships Knicks guard Jeremy Lin. Oh, but these small pockets just happen to be New York City and basically the entire country of China.

Linsanity has been all the rage in the past week, honoring the second-year guard from Harvard that came out of nowhere to post ridiculous numbers in his first significant playing time. While I am not discounting his great start, I am not quite ready to name him the next great point guard.

Yes, I realize Super Lintendo has dropped 109 points through his first four starts, the highest total since the ABA-NBA merger. Yes, I realize the Knicks are averaging 11 more points per 48 minutes when Linderella is in on floor. And yes, I get that Mr. Lincredible is sixth in the league in scoring since Feb. 4, averaging 26.8 points.

In leading the Knicks on a five-game Linning streak, he has also averaged eight assists per game. These wins, however, came against three regular cellar dwellers (New Jersey, Washington and Minnesota) and two above-average squads (Utah and the Los Angeles Lakers). Lin did have his best game against the Lakers, scoring a career-high 38 points in a nationally televised contest in the world’s most famous arena.

But I don’t think he is quite Linvincible yet. He has played more than 35 minutes in just five games in his career, with all five games coming in the last week. To give you some perspective on how short a week is, the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries marriage lasted 10 times that span. And I bet we all thought that would last forever too.

Lin is still a player who never averaged more than 13.6 minutes per game in any month before this one. He is still a player who scores a measly 5.6 points per game in his career. He may turn out to be a great player but I am just not buying it right now.

Even though the media has already adopted The Linstigator as the next chosen one, the sample size is just too small to conclude that he is the next John Stockton. Even if he does eventually flame out when star forwards Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire return to the Lin-up, he has already become a Linspiration to many across the globe.

On the Linternational stage, he should become a rock star. Pretty soon, we will see Lin starting in the All-Star game (which, I remind you, doesn’t matter) after starting just five games. Think that’s crazy? Yao Ming, another Chinese basketball hero, did it just one year ago.

There has never been an Asian-American star in the NBA. Much like Tiger Woods in golf, Lin has singlehandedly taken the hopes and dreams of a race on his back. Except this time, he has the Linternet and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedLin to spread the news of his sudden and quick eruption.

Just how crazy have people gone over Lin?

According to ESPN.com, ownership of Lin in fantasy basketball leagues has jumped from six percent to 100 percent. Sportsbook.com has reduced the odds of Lin winning the MVP down to 75-to-one. A yearbook message Lin wrote is now selling for $4,800 on eBay. His jersey is the top seller in the NBA since Feb. 4. Stock of Madison Square Garden reached an all-time high Monday.

Here’s the biggest shocker: According to Forbes, the Lin brand is now worth $14 million, tying him for sixth in the league with Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant. That’s right, he is now worth just as much as the five-time champion Bryant, who has Lin there and done that. This is the same Kobe Bryant that once scored at least 50 points in four consecutive games — the same amount of career starts Lin has.

I think its time for the world to have a Lintervention.


Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu

The views expressed in this Sports Authority column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.