New York is at the epicenter of the “Linsanity” generated by Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.
Mere “Transactions” section fodder just weeks ago, the undrafted former Harvard star has made the most of an unlikely Knicks starting assignment.
Lin was named the NBA East Player Of The Week for his eye-popping stretch that culminated in a 4-0 team record — including a 38-point night against the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 10.
How could he top that? Tuesday night in Toronto, he hit the game-winning shot with 0.5 seconds remaining to cap a 27-point, 11-assist night.
Leon Carter, ESPNNY.com’s executive editor, took some time out of his busy day to answer some Front Row questions.
FR: How would you describe the fervor for all things Jeremy Lin?
Carter: It’s crazy. Everywhere you go in Manhattan, everyone is talking about Lin. It’s not just Knicks fans. It’s people who have not watched Knicks games in years. It’s cab drivers. It’s barbers. It’s housewives. It’s really amazing. It is a story about an underdog who made good and people are into it. Just think about it. He was practically the last man on the bench who got to play because two stars [Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire] were out. Prior to the call, the Knicks looked horrible. They had lost 11 of 13. They were 8-15 overall. Knicks fans had expected more this season. Some were calling for coach Mike D’Antoni to be fired. In comes Lin, who was sleeping on his brother’s sofa, and they win five in a row. He becomes the point guard the team has been looking for all season.
FR: How has Lin’s emergence affected your Knicks coverage?
Carter: The Knicks have been a hot story since the Christmas Day win over the Celtics. But the story got sizzling hot with Lin. Knicks fans have hope. At ESPN NY, we have beefed up our coverage with two reporters covering practices and three at games. The reporters blog throughout the day. We constantly search for angles and columns on Lin because this Linsanity is real.
FR: Are you encouraging or discouraging your headline writers to use “Lin” puns in headlines?
Carter: I ask my editors to come up with clever headlines. Some puns are better than others. “Linsanity” works. “Lintendo” does not. It was funny to hear Lin say in an interview he never knew his name could create so many puns.
FR: What was Friday night coverage of the Lakers-Knicks’ game and Lin’s 38-point outburst like for the site?
Carter: We had a full menu with stories, opinions, blogs and videos. That led to good traffic overnight and into Saturday. Lin outscored Kobe, 38 points to 34. I think that’s when America took notice. Now we all wonder how the team will play when Stoudemire returns Tuesday night [against Toronto]. Anthony is expected back at the end of the week.
FR: What’s with lesser known athletes who played collegiately in Massachusetts going on to stardom with New York teams: Former UMass star Victor Cruz standing out with the Giants, and now Harvard’s Lin with the Knicks. Adds another level to the NY-Boston rivalry, doesn’t it?
Carter: The Giants beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl definitely took the New York-Boston rivalry to a new level. It’s the second time in four years they have beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I am not ready to say that about the Knicks. It’s only a small stretch of games so far and there is still a lot of season left. Can Lin help them get to the playoffs? Can the Knicks make noise in the playoffs? Whatever the future holds, don’t stop the Linsanity!