Lin Will Play at All-Star Weekend on Feb. 24

COMMENTARY | Jeremy Lin, point guard of the New York Knicks was added Thursday to the roster of players to compete at the Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 24 at All-Star Weekend in Orlando. This development is directly after his buzzer-beating shot against the Toronto Raptors that stretched the New York Knicks’ winning streak to seven.

Lin was Shaquille O’Neal’s 3rd pick after Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin while Charles Barkley chose Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers as his No. 2 choice. Lin will also assist teammate Iman Shumpert in the Sprite Slam Dunk Challenge.

In one of his latest tweets, O’Neal says, “Linderrella story of the year jeremy lin has lingle handedly played lensational lincredible I’m linpressed all he does is Lin Lin Lin gd jib (sic)”.

Lin’s meteoric rise as surprise NBA phenom is one of those underdog stories that build pop culture mythology. An undrafted Ivy League basketball player, Lin, struggles to gain recognition in the NBA. He is picked up and subsequently released by both the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Then, the Knicks take Lin on as a temp for their injured players and then gets buried in the bench. Long story short, the Knicks accidentally discovers Lin when he led the team with his little-engine-that-could spirit to a string of victories. And the rest, as they say is…history.

Now, the TV ratings for the Knicks are up 70 percent and Lin is projected to increase revenues for the NBA to 20 million dollars for this year. China and Taiwan’s bars are packed and following his every game and his fan page has ballooned to 1 million followers. And don’t even try to buy a Lin jersey online, because it is virtually impossible to find. Yes, it’s Lin-sanity!

Why does Lin’s story resonate with so many people? Are we just suckers for the quintessential underdog story? I think that it goes much deeper than that. Lin isn’t your typical NBA superstar. He doesn’t do fancy slam dunk moves or constantly drives to the basket. Instead, his success lies in his ability to make assists. Harking back to previous sports eras, where teamwork mattered most, Lin is constantly looking for the open man, whoever it may be. This type of play speaks of our growing global interconnectedness where relationships and connections are becoming more important than the individual.

Also, despite the common knowledge of the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots, deep down in our psyche, we still want to believe in the American Dream. We still want to believe that if we work really really hard we can achieve anything we put our minds to just as Lin has done. In our current economic depression, this deep belief may be one of the survival tactics that keeps us chugging forward. So, be Lin-spired — there’s nothing wrong with that.

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