Knicks Star Jeremy Lin Captures Big Apple's Heart The point guard was an unknown bench warmer for the New York Knicks until a few weeks ago. But after a series of breakout performances, the Taiwanese-American Harvard graduate is the toast of the town.
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Knicks Star Jeremy Lin Captures Big Apple's Heart

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Knicks Star Jeremy Lin Captures Big Apple's Heart

Knicks Star Jeremy Lin Captures Big Apple's Heart

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The Linsanity continues. Last night, the NBA's New York Knicks won their seventh game in a row, defeating the visiting Sacramento Kings. And once again it was point guard Jeremy Lin who led the charge.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: (Unintelligible) Lin gets it. (Unintelligible) play with the left hand.

MONTAGNE: In the space of 10 days, the Asian-American Lin has gone from an unknown benchwarmer to a high-scoring basketball phenom.

NPR's Margot Adler spoke to some fans to see what the excitement was all about.

MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: I confess, I never heard of Jeremy Lin until three days ago. Yet watching this Taiwanese-American from Harvard during the last quarter of the Knicks game a couple of days ago, I, like everyone else, was blown away.

Outside the NBA store on Fifth Avenue, people were walking in and out to buy the top selling jersey since Saturday, Lin number 17. New Yorker Bruce Haymes said this is a city where big dreams happen.

BRUCE HAYMES: To have someone that was just off everyone's radar is just so unusual here. This kind of like from nowhere to something big just feels real New York.

ADLER: So you came in to get...

HAYMES: I came here to get a T-shirt for my eight-year-old son.

ADLER: And it didn't work, right?

HAYMES: It's sold out.

ADLER: There were no smalls or mediums. Many Asians entered the store - many from Taiwan, ecstatic about this first Taiwanese-American to play for the NBA. A 17-year-old Taiwanese exchange student said he cried the first time he saw Lin play. Oneal Ho is also from Taiwan.

ONEAL HO: The last day, he made a game-winning three-pointer, I just jumped off of my couch. My Facebook is, like, every time when Jeremy Lin has a game, my Facebook is all about him. So, I'm looking for his jersey and I'm going to a game.

ADLER: As crowds of people entered Madison Square Garden, excitement mounted.

Are you all Lin fans? Are you all excited? Are you going to the game?


ADLER: Damir Hot said he was a Sacramento fan, but he was still rooting for Lin.

DAMIR HOT: You don't see this. I mean, I've been following basketball since as long as I've been living. You don't see this. Look at that smile on my face. See that smile? I just can't wait to see him play.

ADLER: And 12-year-old Zach Allen from Oceanside, Long Island, held up a Jeremy Lin towel and said what he liked was...

ZACH ALLEN: His style. I like how he doesn't, like, dunk that much and he's not cocky.

ADLER: OK. There's more media here than anywhere else, and Lin's a great story. First, a rare Asian-American, first Harvard grad in the NBA since the 1950s, unnoticed, dropped from two teams. But something else is going on in this city with all this Linsanity, Divine Lintervention, and so forth. There's a wistfulness that suddenly out of nothing comes something. A team that was nowhere comes into the light. Fan Jason Kimi.

JASON KIMI: Madison Square Garden is the most famous arena in the world. And it's been a little bit shameful that we've had a team like this for the last 10 years. Finally, we're showing everybody in the whole world what New York's all about.

ADLER: Outside the entrance, Casey Dinkin stood with her guitar. A life-long Knicks fan, she was hoping that playing some songs might gain her a ticket.

You have any songs about Lin? I can make one up on the spot, she said.

CASEY DINKIN: (Singing) Scoring so many points per game and no one knew your name. We're going to win a championship now, thanks to you. Jeremy Lin, we've been waiting for someone like you.

ADLER: As sports blogger Bryan Harvey wrote the other day: In a world of infinite data and endless observation, Lin has now broadsided us like an unseen torpedo, fired from a submarine we didn't even know existed.

Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.


MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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