What should I be doing instead of this?
February 16th, 2012 By Danny Cross | Sports | Posted In: Basketball

Who Is Jeremy Lin and What Does He Want?

1202015_jeremy_lin_reuters_328Photo: Reuters

Cincinnatians don’t generally follow a lot of NBA, but even those of us who would rather spend two hours golfing rocks into the Ohio River than watch 48-minutes worth of NBA hoops have heard about, seen highlights of and come to find interest in this Jeremy Lin dude. “Linsanity” is apparently very real.

Here’s the abbreviated story: Lin played college basketball at Harvard, went undrafted, signed a deal with his hometown Golden State Warriors, got cut by them and the Houston Rockets this preseason and then joined the New York Knicks, who have won seven straight games since he broke out with a 25-point, 7-assist, 5-rebound game against the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4.

Lin has scored in double figures in every game since, including dropping 38 on the Lakers Feb. 10. He’s averaging 9.1 assists per game for a team that lost last year’s starting point guard during free agency. The Knicks’ best player, Carmelo Anthony, was injured during the second game of Lin’s run, and the team is still playing as well as it has all year, evening its record at 15-15 with last night’s win over Sacramento, during which Lin had 10 points, 13 assists and 5 rebounds in 26 minutes of play.

Here’s an NBA-produced piece on Lin and his 38-point effort against L.A.

Lin has already compiled a badass highlight reel, and this, along with the ridiculous notion of an unheralded player coming out of nowhere to find success in one of the most demanding professional sports leagues in the world, has launched the term “Linsanity,” and the media is so enamored with this kid’s story and his game that he and Anthony are facing stupid questions about how they’re going to be able to coexist once Anthony returns.

There’s also the fact that Lin is an Asian American playing in a league that has had very few Asians in its league history. He’s the first American player in NBA history to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. This means the media, in addition to its typically loaded questioning, is certain to make insensitive remarks about Lin and his race the faster it tries to crank out cute headlines about the phenomenon.

USA Today put together a rundown of some of the insensitive and/or offensive coverage that has occurred so far. Here’s a rundown:

CNBC's Darren Rovell got the ball rolling Wednesday night by questioning why MSG Network showed Lin's face above a fortune cookie during coverage of the Knicks' victory against the Sacramento Kings, with the words, "The Knicks good fortune."

Tweeted Rovell: "MSG walking a fine line with this Lin fortune cookie graphic tonight."

MSG put out a statement Thursday saying it had nothing to do with the image: "What appeared briefly last night was not an MSG graphic, it was one of many fan signs in the arena."

The network declined to comment on why it telecast the image.

Rovell corrected himself on Twitter on Thursday.

The New York Post also took criticism for using the headline, "Amasian," after Lin drilled a game-clinching three-pointer for the win against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.

During CBS' The Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central mocked the headline, according to SportsBusiness Daily.

Stewart told Letterman: "It'd be like when Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game, you just wrote on there 'JEWTIFUL!' … I feel like it's very 'Lin-sensitive.' "

Columnist Jason Whitlock has already formally apologized to the Asian American Journalists Association for an offensive tweet.

Lin has taken the flurry of media attention in stride. He continues to tell stupid journalists that when Carmelo Anthony returns that he’s plans to have fun passing the ball more and taking fewer shots. And he’s a pretty serious baller that this delivery guy in Oregon apparently predicted via statistical analysis would be a great NBA player.

ESPN's SportCenter last night produced the Top 10 plays of Jeremy Lin’s young career rather than a collection of the night's top 10 plays from the world of sports. Also, President Obama has seen Lin play and has been talking about him.

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