Linsanity hits, and they come bearing gifts
The gift was a nice touch.
Linsanity and all it encompasses – unprecedented numbers of media, fawning questions, rehashed stories and, yes, a present from a credentialed member of the horde – hit the Air Canada Centre like a whirlwind Tuesday morning, sweeping through like nothing seen before.
More than a dozen television cameras and close to 70 writers and broadcasters from a gamut of international outlets greeted the arrival of New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin like nothing in Raptors franchise history.
“I think it’s a miracle from God,” was the first thing Lin said to describe his incredible ascent from minor leaguer to Knicks star.
The present – a Canada Post Year Of The Dragon stamp set – was the most over-the-top part of an over-the-top proceeding.
“Are we in the playoffs now,” asked New York coach Mike D’Antoni, who himself was ushered to the podium to address the masses.
Lin seemed unperturbed by the attention, calmly sitting through about 10 minutes of questions he’s likely heard several times before.
“I would say it’s a miracle because any time anything like this happens, a lot of stuff has to be put into place and lot of it is out of my control,” he said. “If you look back at my story, it doesn’t matter where you look but God’s fingerprints are all over the place where a lot of things had to happen that I couldn’t control. You can call it coincidence but at the end of the day there’s 20, 30 things that had to happen at the right time in order for me to be here.”
D’Antoni, who knows about a bit about the media circus from his time coaching the high octane Phoenix Suns when they were the darlings of the NBA, also knows about the pressure Lin’s under with the intense glare of a New York media that can be overwhelming.
The coach says Lin’s just “a great story.”
“It’s what’s right with sports,” said D’Antonio “He’s an underdog who came on, does it right, the right way … Probably the biggest point is to be able to step on national TV with all the scrutiny, Madison Square Garden against the Lakers, against Kobe and produce what he did. I mean, to me that’s remarkable, it’s unbelievable that he could do that in that game. Now, we have to see the rest of the season, we have a long way to go yet but that’s off the charts.
“I don’t know if anybody could script that.”
Lin’s crossover appeal is tremendous, which gives the narrative an extra layer. Undrafted, unwanted by two teams, sent to the minors and finally given a chance when the struggling Knicks were at a point of last resort, he knows he’s being held up as a beacon for all underdogs.
“My whole thing as I try to my live my life is have fun, explore your opportunities, your dreams and find some thing you’re passionate about and go after it,” he said.
“I think that’s true for kids whether they want to play basketball, whatever they want to do hopefully I can be an inspiration.”