In February 2012, the New York Knicks were struggling at 8-15 during the strike-shortened 2011-12 NBA season when out of nowhere, a seldom used point guard from Harvard named Jeremy Lin broke out and “Linsanity” was born.
It’s hard to imagine it has been five years since the world learned of Jeremy Lin, but that February, the Knicks guard became an overnight sensation . Before Lin’s breakout game, he wasn’t playing many meaningful minutes and only averaging a few points per game. But on February 4, almost like turning on a light switch, Lin scored 25 points in 35 minutes against the Nets. Two days later against Utah, Lin scored 28 and things really took off.
Throughout the rest of February, Lin averaged 22.3 points over the next 13 games and suddenly became the hottest player on the hottest team in the largest media market in the United States. For the next few weeks, takes, questions, and hypotheticals were flying in, and needless to say, people were getting way ahead of themselves…
Will the emergence of Jeremy Lin impact Dwyane Wade’s chances to start future All-Star Games? Blog post at http://t.co/eCSPIL1I
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) February 25, 2012
Team USA Chairman Jerry Colangelo on Jeremy Lin & his potential Team USA future http://t.co/vpMpig4Y
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 24, 2012
Jeremy Lin is the future.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 19, 2012
i’ve seen the knicks future..his name is lin…jeremy lin…
— Dan Hicken (@DanHicken) February 7, 2012
Jeremy Lin = PG of the future
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) February 7, 2012
Colangelo says Knicks’ star Lin could be Select Team candidate http://t.co/sw1W3o1C
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 25, 2012
Can LeBron Stop Jeremy Lin?http://t.co/XqdmEuS3
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) February 24, 2012
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) February 16, 2012
Yes, ESPN.com poll actually asks if Jeremy Lin is the best PG in the NBA. Not on the list? Deron, Nash, Westbrook … http://t.co/lHl57SvA
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) February 13, 2012
— Richard Florida (@Richard_Florida) February 11, 2012
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he got a text from Spike Lee, thanking him for cutting Jeremy Lin.
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) February 11, 2012
— Mark Ortega (@MarkEOrtega) February 11, 2012
— John A. Torres (@johnalbertorres) February 11, 2012
— Jim Edwards (@Jim_Edwards) February 23, 2012
Jeremy Lin was such a big deal that he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in consecutive weeks.
Lin himself took it in stride or at least as best as he could. But there were issues. Particularly, his relationship with Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, which appeared tenuous at best. Anthony didn’t seem to like or respect Lin. Also, once Lin stopped playing out of his mind every night, he had to deal with the doubters calling him a fluke.
After a first round playoff exit, Lin became a restricted free agent and eventually signed with the Rockets after the Knicks declined to match the Rockets 3 year $25 million offer sheet. With only a sample size of fewer than 30 games, the Knicks still didn’t know what they had, and apparently the risk of spending big money on someone who could revert back to being a bench player outweighed the potential reward. Also, according to many, it was clear that Anthony did not want the Knicks to resign Lin. The Knicks ended up instead signing Raymond Felton to fill the void at point guard. Of course, immediately after the Lin news broke, players made sure to do their best to try and validate the decision…
— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) October 28, 2012
Tyson Chandler didn’t think Jeremy Lin was ready to run Knicks. http://t.co/InvJ2xDj
— Reid Cherner (@ReidCherner) October 9, 2012
Other folks disagreed, and felt this was another mistake by James Dolan and the New York Knicks.
Jeremy Lin is moving to the Houston Rockets, and the most ardent Knicks fans are not happy — http://t.co/NnYONudg
— The Week (@TheWeek) July 18, 2012
Still wondering why Knicks let Jeremy Lin go. Still coming up short. Still had a column! http://t.co/MTTxvdJo
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) July 18, 2012
Ex-coach Mike D’Antoni can’t believe the Knicks let Jeremy Lin go for nothing. News http://t.co/YouL1si6
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) July 18, 2012
GQ: Knicks’ loss of Lin ranks among worst decisions ever http://t.co/NQp735gI
— Tom Martin (@4TomMartin) September 26, 2012
As if giving away Lin wasn’t bad enough, Dolan clearly loves makin fans miserable RT Knicks owner meets w/Isiah Thomas http://t.co/tDk0IfB2
— Andrew Steinthal (@schmooey) September 8, 2012
Perfectly sums up my frustration with the Knicks and Lin situations. It shouldn’t be about $ when you have a phenom: http://t.co/XcWh8Nr4
— Roger Cheng (@RogerWCheng) July 18, 2012
@OOT_Thereitis Knicks dropped the ball with Lin, period. Spiteful Dolan, just another petty mistake
— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) August 3, 2012
In Houston, Lin started every game of the 2012-13 season and while he cooled off from his last few months with the Knicks, Lin’s stats were very similar. But after a disappointing first playoff round against the Thunder, “Linsanity” was gone and Lin was like any other player.
Lin didn’t exactly go back to being a bench player but his days of being an every game starter was over. In the 2013-14 season, Lin started 33 games but still averaged 28 minutes and scored 12.5 points per game.
Over the next three seasons, Lin went from the Rockets to the Lakers to the Hornets and now is currently back in New York with the Brooklyn Nets. You could say that Lin being back with the Nets has caused his career over the past five years to come full circle. Lin is back in NYC and although he missed a few months due to a hamstring injury, Lin is statistically having his best season since his time with the Knicks.
Jeremy Lin’s play in 2017 is likely not going to lead to a “Linsanity” renaissance, but he turned that great month of February 2012 into a solid NBA career.
[Stats from basketball-reference.com]