Linsanity revisited: How Jeremy Lin became an instant NBA superstar

Feb 13 2019, 5:51 am

It has been seven years since the legend of Linsanity was born.

Back during the 2011-12 NBA season, Asian-American point guard Jeremy Lin unexpectedly burst onto the scene and became an instant basketball phenomenon.

Playing for the New York Knicks at the time, the relatively unknown Lin went on an unfathomable 26-game run leading his team to a 16-10 record and sparking a global craze dubbed ‘Linsanity.’

The Torrance, California native became the first American of Taiwanese decent to play in the NBA, and officially signed with the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

Let’s take a look back at one of the most memorable underdog stories in league history, including a memorable game when fans in Toronto cheered for him as a visiting player.

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The breakout game

Lin went undrafted out of Harvard, played briefly for the Golden State Warriors, and then found himself at the deep end of the New York Knicks’ bench with his future in the league unclear. It wasn’t until February 4, 2012 when Lin got his chance to shine in a game against the New Jersey Nets.

Lin carved up the Nets for 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in a 99-92 victory, turning some heads in the process.

It was the following game against the Utah Jazz, however, when Linsanity really started to take shape. He was slotted into the starting lineup and, with star players Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire out with injury, it was Lin time.

In another dominant performance Lin led his team to victory and finished with 28 points. Virtually overnight he had gone from a guy no one had heard of, to a hero.

The career game

With Linsanity already at an overwhelming fever pitch, the undrafted kid from Harvard was set to go toe-to-toe with one of the greatest ever in Kobe Bryant. In a marquee game at Madison Square Garden, Lin exploded for a career high.

“It’s indescribable,” Lin said to reporters after dropping 38 points in the win and outscoring Bryant in the process.

It was made clear after this game that the Jeremy Lin Show was real. Most people would also tell you it wasn’t just the numbers, it was how he was doing it – with flash and style.

The dagger shot

One of the most memorable moments of Linsanity was one that Raptors fans are all too familiar with as it happened on Toronto’s home court. Lin hadn’t played a stellar game overall, but with 20 seconds left on the clock and the two teams tied, the ball was in his hands.

You can tell by watching the excited reaction of the Toronto fans that Linsanity had transcended the sport. A player from the opposing team just hit the game-winning shot and fans launched to their feet and erupted in cheers.

It truly was a global craze.

The magical run vaulted New York from the bottom of the Eastern Conference and into the playoffs. Lin wasn’t around to help out in the postseason, however, as he underwent surgery for an injured knee.

He would go on to sign with the Houston Rockets in the offseason, officially bringing an end to Linsanity. Although short-lived, the memorable run landed Lin a permanent job in the league, multiple Sports Illustrated Covers, a documentary, and international stardom.

Now Jeremy Lin is ready to bring his talents north of the border and Raptors fans are more than ready.

Bring on Linsanity 2.0.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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