Jeremy Lin, the “Hero from Harvard”, who was undrafted by every team in the NBA (and cut by 2 NBA teams after making each team), and had few believers even in high school and college, is the NBA’s version of Tebow-mania, golf’s Tiger Woods, boxing’s Mike Tyson (remember him?), racing’s Danica Patrick. Now I am not comparing Lin’s talent here to Tebow, Tiger, Tyson, or Patrick, just the buzz he is creating in his sport. However, Lin has talent, and people are finally and maybe reluctantly starting to acknowledge this.
Lin is giving the Knicks, the NBA, investors, fans, and even the economy a Linjection of excitement and hope. Heck, even the President of the United States is watching Lin. Much like Tiger Woods did for golf, Jeremy Lin is attracting large viewing audiences beyond the die hard fan and is a marketing dream. Searches for Lin online are outdistancing any other NBA player during Linsanity. This has to be good for the Knicks, for the NBA, fans, the economy, and a sitting President seeking re-election where the focus will be at least partially on the economy and its hopes for a recovery.
Madison Square Garden aka MSG (the owner of the New York Knicks) has seen its stock go up over 6% since Linsanity began in early February 2012–investors are ecstatic. Tickets are hard to come by now. Jeremy Lin’s jersey has been the number one selling jersey in the NBA since Linsanity began on February 4, 2012, and more Knicks jerseys are also selling better during Linsanity. Lin is doing the impossible–getting investors excited and getting people to spend money. The public outcry to be able to see Lin’s games on cable resulted is a resolution of the cable dispute between the MSG Network and Time Warner Cable. Knicks games on television are up a whopping 70% during Linsanity. Lin is so popular, everyone wants a piece of him. Nike has a campaign coming out soon to cash in on Linsanity. Lin himself will cash in soon with Nike and endorsements–he even is trying to trademark the term “Linsanity”. Lin’s appeal is global and his fairytale story translates into many languages.
Lin is the first Taiwanese-American to play in the NBA and he scored more than 20 points in each of his first six games, including a game against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in which he scored 38 points. Kobe, a future Hall of Famer and an all-time great defender, even guarded him at times with limited success. Lin’s appeal in Asia is clear, evidenced by television stations in China rushing to add his games to their line-up and many are taking pride in his roots. Lin is playing great after being counted out as a little more than a bench warmer which supports that old belief that many parents teach their kids around the world: you should never give up; just work hard and you can achieve your dreams; you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Jeremy Lin is a living example.
Jeremy Lin is now one of my favorite players. I don’t watch much basketball, but I find myself watching him, much like I used to have to watch Tiger Woods when he was at his best. Lin’s impact is estimated at $20 million to over $100 million for the NBA per year, depending on how well he continues to play. He is already having a huge impact on the larger economy as well, not just in terms of dollars, but in terms of excitement and hope.