Sudden basketball star Jeremy Lin 'is a good example to kids,' Kobe Bryant says
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You don't have to be an NBA fan to admire Jeremy Lin or to have heard of the New York Knicks point guard. He popped into prominence as a high-scoring phenomenon who hadn't been a full-game player until Feb. 4, when he was needed because injuries sidelined regular starters. Lin, 23, grabbed the opportunity, scoring more than 20 points in a number of games and contributing to a seven-game winning streak. "Linsanity" became a headline word and Twitter hashtag. His face was on the covers of Sports Illustrated and Time's Asia edition.
The 6-foot-3-inch player is an unlikely sports hero, a first-generation American whose parents grew up in Taiwan off mainland China. He's the NBA's first Taiwanese-American player. He wasn't offered a basketball scholarship out of high school and went to Harvard, earning an economics degree. He went undrafted by the NBA, finally ending up with his hometown Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif. He was dropped on the first day of training camp for the 2011-12 season and also was cut by the Houston Rockets after playing briefly. He joined the Knicks last December, but stayed mostly on the bench until this month's breakout.
"Players don't usually come out of nowhere," notes Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. "His skill level was probably there from the beginning, but no one ever noticed. . . . It's a great story. It's a testament to perseverance and hard work. It is a good example to kids everywhere." The impact of Lin's rise includes TV. ratings for Knicks broadcasts that have soared 70 percent. Lin’s T-shirt is the No. 1 seller on NBA.com, collectibles from his rookie years are hot on eBay and tickets to Knicks games are selling out around the league.
Basketball veteran says: "This league is dominated by African-Americans. What are the odds of an Asian guy coming on and having this impact? It's amazing. It's inexplicable." -- Walt Frzazier, TV analyst and former Knicks star
Asian-American says: "Who knows what will happen now that athletic Asian-American kids can say, 'Look at Jeremy Lin!'? And other people, beholding Jeremy Lin, might come to better appreciate how complex Asian culture truly is." -- Gish Jen, novelist in New York Times commentary, Feb. 17
Instant collectible: "Our internal data shows items associated with him occupy most of the top 'most-watched' slots in our sports category, outstripping those items concerning perennial favorite Michael Jordan." -- Joe MacFarland, eBay staff blogger
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