Linsanity and... LeBron James
An Underrated Subplot of Linsanity
Jeremy Lin has done something in two weeks that most athletes fail to do in an entire career. He has transcended sports. Gone mainstream; like my Desperate Housewives watching, shih-tzu owning girlfriend knows about him, mainstream. America's fascination with Lin has three major factors; his race, his underdog story and his New York address, and each person will undoubtedly assign varying levels of import to each. The point of this narrative, though, is not to dissect Lin's fame, but to recognize and accept it. Even if he never scores another point, he will be a cult hero in a basketball starved city. The way that Lin has energized the fans at The World's Most Famous Arena is part of the magic of it all. They were hungry for a basketball savior after the extremely lean Isaiah Thomas years, and 40 years of ultimate futility. Lin has taken on a role that was once offered to the NBA's best player, LeBron James.
For all of his recent exploits, Jeremy Lin is not the best player in the league, the best player at his position, or even the best player on his own team. He is very good and his aggressive, heady style of play, combined with the winning, has won the hearts of the fans like few before him. Imagine if the best player in the league, LeBron James had taken his game to New York. Knicks fans were counting down the days to when the self-proclaimed king would be a free agent, hoping he would look to New York as his free-agent destination. What if Lebron were throwing up near triple-doubles every night? How much would the savvy fans of the Garden have deified James? His deft passing and acute court vision? His romps through the air on fast breaks? Though nowhere near the national story, Madison Square Garden would still be going insane every night, but it would have been happening for the past year and a half. The best player in the league comes to the World's Most Famous Arena, with learned fans, hungry for a positive basketball experience? Oh, what could have been for LeBron and the Knicks.