For those of you who are wondering, the answer is no, there is not a spelling error in the title. Linsanity is the newest craze sweeping the globe, as a result of the recent play of New York Knicks basketball player, Jeremy Lin. Lin has burst onto the scene in the past week by playing almost flawless basketball, going from an unknown bench player to a superstar faster than anyone in recent memory. He has scored more points in his first four starts than Allen Iverson, Shaq, and Michael Jordan. After his first game, he had fans chanting MVP, and since then has put up equally impressive performances, with the highlight of his career being a 38 point outburst against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Jeremy Lin is the first American with Chinese descent to play in the NBA. It also appears that he will take the popularity of the NBA in China to a new level. Yao Ming, the legendary Chinese basketball, was forced to retire this past year because of his constant struggle with injuries. Yao is responsible for making the NBA popular in China, and losing him this season caused a lot of concern about the future of the NBA’s influence in China. Fortunately, demand for NBA games has never been higher, as viewership is already up 39% over last year.
The increased demand for the NBA came before Jeremy Lin even started in a game, and his influence on viewership in China is unknown. If his impact in China is anything close to the pandemonium that is sweeping the U.S., the NBA could see tremendous growth in the upcoming year and become the first American sport to gain a serious following internationally.
Back home in New York, it is still virtually impossible to find a Jeremy Lin jersey. Lin had never played prior to the past week, and not a single Lin jersey existed for retail sale until recently. Fans have searched high and low to be one of the first to get their hands on the new phenom’s jersey, as retailers struggle to produce them as fast as possible. Do not be surprised a few months ago when the leader in NBA jersey sales is not Lebron James or Kobe Bryant, but Jeremy Lin. It is refreshing to see great things happen such a humble and deserving person, and the sky is the limit for this young man. No one knows what the future holds for Jeremy Lin, but one thing is for sure, the world will be watching.