Monday, July 16, 2012

RIP Linsanity: A Timeline of Linsanity in New York

Linsanity has been declared dead more times than Saturday Night Live. First, it was Carmelo's return that killed the phenomenon, then it was the Miami Heat defense in that pre-all star break disaster, and then it was the torn cartilage that sidelined Lin for the Knicks playoff run. Every time, though, it was thought that Linsanity would return, as great as it was the first time, to blow everyone's mind like it's Valentines day 2012 all over again. Now, it seems like time has run out though, on Lin's 15 minutes, at least in New York. The Knicks, by all accounts, will not be matching the Rockets' "ridiculous" offer and Lin will be taking his millions of Asian fans to Houston. We could debate whether or not Lin is a money hungry, ungrateful back up guard with limited skills who just got lucky, or if the Knicks are making the biggest mistake in their history by not holding on to what could be a great, young pro no matter the cost, but that's all conjecture. We have no idea how Lin's career will turn out, if he'll prove himself to be a flash in the pan (albeit a really bright flash) or the second coming of Steve Nash. Either way, it appears his time in New York is done. It was fun while it lasted.

A quick history of important dates in Linsanity

  • December 27th, 2011 The Knicks announce they are claiming Jeremy Lin off waivers, making him the first Chinese or Taiwanese player to suit up in the orange and blue. Me and a handful of other Asian Knicks fans are moderately excited even though we know he'll never get off the bench.

  • February 3rd, 2012- Lin gets off the bench and actually plays in a loss in Boston. He doesn't contribute much but shows some signs of life (which the Knicks had been sorely missing during this period).

  • February 4th, 2012- The day before the Super Bowl, the Knicks are reeling. Playing the third game of the lockout necessitated back to back to back schedule, Mike D'Antoni is willing to try anything short of shaving his moustache to find a winning combination. Lin scores 25 points on an array of layups and jumpers. Knicks fans begin to lose their minds.

  • February 10th, 2012- After two more games that saw a few ridiculous plays, including a buzzer beater that caused Clyde Frazier to say "some things are meant to be" and a dunk past John Wall, Lin shows he's not a fluke and might actually be a decent NBA player. In a nationally televised Friday night game against the Lakers he scores 38, outscoring Kobe and causing countrywide LINSANITY. The next week a photo from this game would serve as the first of back to back Sports Illustrated covers featuring Lin, a rare feat for anyone. It's only going to get worse....

  • February 14th, 2012- Valentine's day is officially renamed VaLINtine's day. Despite getting torched by Jose Calderon for most of the game, he redeems himself with the Knicks last 6 points including a three pointer to win it with less than a second left on the clock. Mayor Bloomberg proclaims Park Avenue will now be known as Lin Avenue. Lepers flock by the hundreds to Landry Field's couch hoping to be healed. The sun shines for 3 straight days as scientists speculate Linsanity has caused a shift in the earth's axis.

  • February 17th, 2012- The end of Linsanity appears to be near as the Knicks crap the bed against the putrid Hornets. The 2012 Hornets suck to begin with in the wake of the Chris Paul trade, but on this night, the Hornets are missing half of their players and feature such greats of the game as Gustavo Ayon and Revis Vasquez. Compounding the Knicks loss is the unfortunate choice of words by an ESPN headline writer. The next night, SNL opens the show with a Linsanity themed sketch. Saturation point has almost been reached.

  • February 19th, 2012- The Knicks beat the champion Mavericks (who are still considered a good team at that point). The game is highlighted by a three by Lin over Nowitzki, and a steal and dunk that literally sends the crowd into hysterics. If you could imagine 100 New Year's eves combined with watching 20 world cup championships in the winning country and 20,000 simultaneous orgasms. It would be about half as excited as the Garden crowd is after Lin's dunk. My favorite part is the three grown men hugging on the verge of tears at the 12 second mark but this video does a nice job of summing up Linsanity. After the dunk, you see some dude jumping up and down on celebrity row (where people usually sit quietly all game), Spike Lee wearing a Harvard jersey, a few seconds of delirious fans hugging in the stands like Oprah just gave them a car, and then video from a restaurant in Chinatown of proud Asians who hadn't watched an NBA game since Yao retired. It wouldn't be all laughs from here though.

  • February 20th, 2012- The following day sees the return of Carmelo Anthony from the injury he suffered on an alley-oop pass during the second game of Linsanity. To say people in New York are worried about his co-existing with Lin is an understatement. And, of course, everyone's worst fears are realized as the Knicks get blown out at home by the revenge-minded Nets. Deron Williams dominates Lin all game. Linsanity is dying...

  • February 23rd, 2012- Lin is a non factor in a nationally televised game against the Heat in Miami days before the all star break. He appears afraid to even dribble the ball never mind be the swaggering hero that he was for the previous weeks. Lin has been exposed, or so it seems. Countdown to Linsanity's death....

  • March 31st, 2012- After a couple weeks of bullshitting that his injury wasn't all that serious, the Knicks announce Lin will have surgery on his knee, conveniently timed after the deadline to renew season tickets. Sneaky, sneaky. Lin still holds out hope he'll return for the playoffs.

  • July 15th, 2012- Despite weeks of hearing nothing but how the Knicks will resign Lin no matter what the Rockets offer, it's reported by numerous media outlets that the Knicks will not be matching Houston's offer. This seems all the more likely when it's announced that the Knicks have made a trade for former Knick Raymond Felton. Linsanity is on life support.

And that leads us to today. The Knicks will make a decision tonight on Lin, and either way it will make some people upset. Those three weeks in February have been mythologized since, (there's already been a book that must have been written in about 2 hours) but as hyped as Lin's Knicks career was, some of it was deserved. It all played out like a corny sports movie; frustrated by his greedy, overpaid stars, a beleagured coach grasping at straws puts in the last guy on the bench. An Asian ivy leaguer who was cut from his previous team on Christmas Eve and he plays really, really well for a couple weeks, leading the team to a win streak and becoming a world wide phenomenon. Except those movies always end with the team either winning it all, or learning a valuable lesson in defeat. They don't usually make sequels to these movies because nobody wants to see where the underdog goes once they're on top or what happens to the phenomenon when their time runs out. Usually, the second chapter isn't nearly as exciting. And in some cases, it's almost sad to watch.

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