Lin has played significant minutes in the past seven games, and the Knicks have won them all — even without star forward Carmelo Anthony. Fans tune in around the globe to watch the player who’s burst onto the public consciousness like few before him.
“At this point, it’s pretty clear he’s bigger than sports,” said Mike Yam, an ESPN sportscaster.
The crowd at Madison Square Garden wears masks depicting Lin’s face. They wave the Taiwanese flag and hold signs celebrating “Super Lin-tendo,” “To Lin-finity and beyond,” and “Lin-sync.” He’s quickly become a rallying point, dribbling a ball at a unique intersection where culture, religion and sport meet.
Yam went to a New York bar Wednesday night, talking to Asian Americans as they watched Lin and the Knicks. Their reactions, he said, weren’t like those of typical sports fans. “There is a glow they all have,” he said. “This is one of their own really making them all proud. Yao Ming was big, but he was from China. Jeremy Lin is Asian American, and there’s been no one like him before.”
Lin was born to Taiwanese parents whose roots stretch to China, he graduated from an Ivy League school, and he openly shares his faith. Despite his unlikely trajectory, his success is perched on familiar pillars for many Asian Americans.
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