THE BLOG

Jeremy Lin in Context

02/15/2012 06:13 pm ET | Updated Apr 16, 2012

Can you hear it? The chants "Lin, Lin, Lin" reverberating throughout arenas and straight into your living room. It took a desperate coach, a team that had lost 11 of their last 13 and was being trounced by the New Jersey Nets for the Lin saga to commence. Even folks off the mainland have taken notice. Lin's marketability and standing room only arenas are arguably becoming a norm. Along with some of my colleagues I found myself fervently huddled around the television en masse -- like folks giving ear to a Roosevelt radio address of old -- to watch the young, fearless basketball phenom Jeremy Lin rise to the occasion yet again and hit a game winning shot in Toronto. With Lin's current success becoming more of a legend, he must be assessed in context.

First, let's be clear that the rumblings over the orange and blue began almost two years ago with a new look. If acquiring Amar'e Stoudemire was a catalyst for success, then Lin's streak can only mean a promising playoff run is in sight for the Knicks. Leading a 17-point comeback at Toronto, boasting 136 points in first five starts -- the most since the NBA/ ABA merger in 1976 -- Lin is the real deal. Lin's scoring as a starter after his first five starts is also ahead of the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Dominique Wilkins. However, he also had eight turnovers against the Raptors. Regardless, Lin's rookie mistakes are inconsequential considering the numbers that he is putting up. Yes, most analysts never saw this coming, notwithstanding his prudent high school coach who purchased linsanity.com several years back. With a growing rock star status comparable to another Harvard alum, Lin is amongst a league of underappreciated athletes. Think Tom Brady going 199th in the NFL draft, Kurt Warner winning the Super Bowl under the questionable auspices of arena football, and most recently Tim Tebow's play in the fourth quarter.

A son of immigrant parents, two siblings -- one in dental school and another finishing undergrad -- Lin is certainly a child of humble beginnings. Growing up in Palo Alto, California, Lin tasted success when he first led his high school team to a startling 32-1 record and a state title; however it was for Division II. Again, at Harvard Lin broke numerous scoring records, however this occurred in the Ivy League which isn't known to have the most difficult competition to say the least. Sooner or later Lin will come back down to earth. You could argue that he's played against sub par teams, notwithstanding Kobe's listless Lakers. Skeptics are waiting for Lin's execution against conference titans such as the Bulls and the Miami Heat. Moving forward, no one knows for certain where Lin will be by seasons end. For now let's appreciate the so-called "Lin-sanity" because, in the words of Shane Battier, at this point even Chuck Norris may have a Jeremy Lin nightlight to stave off the "boogey man".