A phenomenon is sweeping through the US, China, Taiwan and many other parts of the world. It is called Linsanity.
It all started with Jeremy Lin. He now boasts more than 1.5 million followers on on Weibo and hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and other social media sites.
Linsanity, a combination of the New York Knicks point guard’s last name and the word insanity, has been used by NBA stars, sports pundits, celebrities and fans alike to describe the phenomenon surrounding the player who went from being overlooked by multiple teams to breaking records in one week. After his first week starting for the NBA, Lin managed to become the first player in NBA history to put up numbers of at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his first four starting games.
Lin also made history in his first week starting for an NBA team as the second highest scoring player in league history over a period of four game starts. However, the guard’s accolades have surprised many, since multiple teams waived Lin from their rosters and he was playing in the NBA D-league only a few weeks ago.
“Michael Jordan scored 99 points in his first four career starts, Larry Bird scored 70 in his first four, Shaquille O’neal had 100,” Sports writer Tommy Beer Tweeted. “Jeremy Lin has 109. #Linsanity”
Jeremy Lin is no longer just a basketball sensation. The New York Knicks star also has become a global business phenomenon.
Thanks to Lin’s fairy tale February, ratings of Knicks television broadcasts have soared 70 percent, and the publicly traded stock of Madison Square Garden has hit a 52-week high. Lin’s T-shirt is now the No. 1 seller on NBA.com, and arenas around the NBA are selling out tickets to Knicks games.
That is just the beginning. Nike will soon roll out a new promotional campaign built around Lin, industry sources say – the first of what is expected to be a parade of endorsements featuring the 23-year-old point guard.
Estimates of Lin’s economic impact begin at tens of millions of dollars, and reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, especially if he continues to perform at a high level.
The excitement surrounding the New York Knicks point guard is providing a fresh impetus to the NBA’s lucrative China business in the wake of Yao Ming’s retirement. The Harvard graduate’s stunning rise this month is spurring further growth in viewership and merchandise sales that soared during the years Yao played with the Houston Rockets.
Yao was quoted Friday as praising Lin’s performance and dismissing any notion of him having been a mentor or inspiration.
Noting the differences between them — Yao was born in Shanghai and raised to play basketball, while Lin hails from Northern California and attended Harvard — Yao said the two were friends and sometimes exchanged text messages.
“The environments in which we were raised were very different, but I’m really happy that a guard like him could appear out of nowhere and have such a huge impact on the NBA,” Yao was quoted as saying by the official China News Service.
Sales of NBA merchandise are likely to surge across Asia, and the league likely will pick up new sponsors.
Beyond the tangible value to the Knicks, the NBA, apparel manufacturers like Nike and assorted sponsors, Linsanity also means important revenue for a host of small businesses, from sporting goods stores to Chinese restaurants holding Lin viewing parties. Even companies making knockoff apparel are likely to see a windfall.
Lin’s exploits also have riveted Taiwan, with reporters staking out the apartment where his grandmother and an uncle live. An estimated three million people in Taiwan have watched each one of his games. There is constant news coverage of him, with news channels flashing headlines when he spearheads a Knicks victory. Taiwanese newspapers splash his picture on the front page, with some running multi-page special reports.
Lin is a devout Christian who credits God for his success. Whether or not God is responsible for Lin’s astounding point totals, his faith is another factor in keeping him stable
After Lin hit the game-winning shot at Toronto earlier this week, a reporter asked, “Can you believe this is happening to you?” The player slowly bobbed his head from side to side, letting the question bounce around a bit.
“No,” he finally said. “But I believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing God who does miracles.”
Lin is for real.