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Monday, January 17, 2022

The ‘Linsanity’ Rages on in NYC

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Basketball phenom Jeremy Lin. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)New York City has a new celebrity these days; he comes in a 6’3” frame, weighs 200 pounds, and plays for the New York Knicks. Jeremy Lin played his high school ball at Palo Alto high school where as the captain of the team, he led them to a 31-1 record in his senior year.

He was named first team All-State while averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assist, 5 steals, and 6.2 rebounds per game. After a stellar high school career, Lin was unable to get an NCAA scholarship but was nevertheless able to land a spot on Harvard’s basketball team. In his sophomore season at Harvard, Lin averages 12.6 points per game and was named All-Ivy second team. In his junior year, the kid from Palo Alto was averaging 17.8 points, 4.3 assists, and 5.5 rebounds. In his senior year, Lin put up similar numbers and was mid season candidate for the John Wooden Award. He helped Harvard set records in home, road, and non-conference wins.

Lin entered the 2010 NBA Draft after working out for 8 different teams, but unfortunately went undrafted. The Dallas Mavericks put Lin on their summer league roster in Las Vegas where he averaged just under 10 point to go along with 3.2 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Once the summer league was over, Lin signed a two year deal with the Golden State Warriors which also happened to be his home town team. J-Lin saw limited minutes in his time with the Warriors, playing in only 29 games and scoring a total of only 76 points behind premiere starting point guard Stephen Curry. The Warriors waived Lin once the lengthy NBA lockout was over in late November, but was picked up just days later by the Houston Rockets. Jeremy quickly realized that once again his minutes will be limited playing behind points guards Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. On December 14, just before the NBA season was about to tip off, the Rockets waived Lin to clear payroll to sign center Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks picked up the second year guard off waivers from the Rockets on December 27, 2011, due to injuries to their guards. Lin made his Knicks debut in his home town against the Warriors; he was warmly cheered in the one minute he played in. He continued to ride the bench over the next several weeks as the Knicks continued to have an inconsistent season, which put head coach Mike D’Antoni on the firing line. But on Saturday night February 4, Lin was put on the floor early in a game against the cross town rivals NJ Nets to try and help stop the bleeding. But J-Lin did more by scoring 25 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, all career highs helping the Knicks to a 99-92 win. 48 hours later, Lin mirrored his career night against the Jazz, pouring 28 points while dishing out 8 assists in another NY win. Four nights later, the Lakers paid a visit to the Garden, and Lin saved his best performance for Kobe as he scored yet another career high of 38 points to go along with 7 assists to surprise the 5 time champion. The Knicks then traveled to Minnesota over the weekend to face the T-Wolves, where Lin orchestrated a fourth quarter comeback and hit the winning free throw in a two-point New York win.

 Many thought the hot streak had to come to an end, but Lin had other ideas as he hit a three pointer with .5 seconds remaining to beat the Raptors three nights later in Toronto. The next night the Knicks returned home to face the Sacramento Kings and saw Lin dish out a career high 13 assists to extend the Knicks winning streak to seven.  Over the weekend, the defending NBA champion Mavericks paid a visit to the Garden and got their first look at the Knicks’ newest star. But it was Lin who put on a championship performance by scoring 28 points and yet another career high 14 assists in a seven point Knicks win. The Knicks finished up the first half of the season with a tough 14 point loss in Miami in which Lin struggled for the first time since his hot streak began

As lifelong basketball fan, I can tell you it has been very rare in recent memory that a player comes out of nowhere and put on a performance like Jeremy Lin has achieved in the past three weeks. All Jewish Knicks fans are hoping for a Chol Hamoed treat this coming Passover, namely, to see the Knicks playing in the playoffs in April.

Speaking of treats, Jewish ice cream moguls Ben and Jerry pled “temporary Linsanity” when they revised the recipe for a flavor of frozen yogurt developed in Lin’s honor, to include bits of waffle cone. The original contained pieces of fortune cookie. A bit gauche, perhaps, but at least it wasn’t as bad as ESPN’s racially-insensitive headline which hardly bears repeating here. Also, we’d be willing to bet it probably tasted pretty good.  In any event, a couple of nice Jewish boys like Ben and Jerry, you’d think they could come up with something a little less goyish once in a while. Ice Cream Coen, anyone?

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