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NBA All-Star Weekend

February 24, 2012 by staff 

NBA All-Star Weekend, Dripping with drama and soaked in surreality, even Hollywood would have had trouble scripting this story. In barely three weeks, Jeremy Lin, a Harvard-educated NBA player who was reportedly days away from being cut by his third NBA team in two years, has turned into an overnight sensation.

Behind Lin, the New York Knicks had won nine of their last 11 games entering Thursday night’s showdown with the Miami Heat. Lin, hardly a household name when the calendar turned, has averaged 23.9 points and 9.2 assists since becoming a starter Feb. 4, wowing fans not only in the Big Apple but across the globe.

That, along with his positive persona and pun-worthy last name, have made him the sports story in the country this month, overshadowing even the Dwight Howard trade rumors and the Super Bowl.

Head-LIN-e writers at tabloids across Manhattan began finding many witty ways to describe the hysteria created by the New York Knicks guard’s knack for scoring at will and dishing at random. They played on his monosyllabic last name. Perhaps too much. One ESPN editor was fired for a headline deemed racially insensitive.

According to The Washington Post, Lin has even filed an application to trademark the term “Linsanity,” the most popular of the terms used to describe the recent Lin madness, a phenomenon rarely experienced in sports.

Friday night at Amway Arena, area basketball fans will have an opportunity to see up close what Lin can do when he participates in the “Rising Stars Challenge” as part of this year’s NBA All-Star Game festivities.

“This is a great story,” said Dr. Harry Edwards, a renowned sports sociologist and professor emeritus from the University of California at Berkeley. “He’s another underdog that had been cut by two teams and who supposedly has every insignia of being unable to play in the NBA: He’s from Harvard. He’s Asian-American.

“It’s a story for these times when there’s so much doubt as to whether hard work, or whether perseverance, or whether daring to dream the impossible dream is even viable.”

Lin is not the only superstar participating in the Rising Stars Challenge, which includes players in their first or second years in the league. Among Lin’s teammates on the “Shaq Team” are Clippers forward Blake Griffin — a regular all-star and last year’s dunk champion — and Minnesota rookie sensation Ricky Rubio. And “Team Chuck” includes the past two No. 1 overall draft picks, Washington’s John Wall and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving.

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