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Wednesday, February 15, 2012
The future is made of virtual Linsanity

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

Linsanity shows no signs of waning. In fact, in light of Jeremy Lin's 27 points, 11 assists and game-winning 3-pointer in Toronto, it's only just getting started.

Lin's 130 points through five career starts is more than any other NBA player since the ABA-NBA merger. He is not a fad. He is not going away. It's time to prepare for how a Linsane future will affect sports and the world.

Media

Linsanity. Linning. InLincible. It's been a punfest for our nation's headline writers. No one can blame them for Lindulging -- at first, there was no way to know whether Lin's great play would continue. The puns had to be used while there was an openLing.

But two weeks into Linsanity, every good pun has been thrown out there -- as well a few not-so-good ones. It's Linpossible to come up with any new Lin-based words. Outside of when the Knicks cLinche a playoff spot later this season, the pun thing is already Linished. The New York media might be facing years of generating Lin headlines without being able to resort to puns. It's the A-Rod/A-Fraud conundrum. The pun well eventually dries up. There's a Linmit. It's unwise to Lintentionally beat a dead horse. (See?)

So what's next? Probably forcing Lin into headlines that have nothing to do with sports. And, when baseball season starts, comparing A-Rod with Lin after every bad game. "FaiLin: A-Rod will never be as clutch as Jeremy Lin."

Baseball

The Giants just won the Super Bowl, yet Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and friends likely would get trampled on the streets of New York if Lin were standing behind them. Derek Jeter and the Yankees have no chance in the face on Linsanity. In fact, although baseball is just about to get started, the sport has almost no chance of moving the dial this season.

Linsanity followed quickly on the heels of Tebowmania. Sports fans are now conditioned to expect an underdog superhero to rise from nowhere and dominate the headlines. Unless baseball has some backup utility infielder who is planning to hit 70 home runs this year, Bud Selig might just want to cancel the season. If the baseball strike caused MLB to turn a blind eye toward steroids use, Linsanity might force MLB to go to mandatory steroids Linjections.

Endorsements

Jeremy Lin will soon be an endorsement king. He's young, he's talented, he's smart; he plays in the biggest media market in the world; and he has crossover appeal in Asia. Stephen Colbert offered up some endorsement ideas for Lin this week -- Linoleum and a bag of Lint. The pun products don't have to stop there. Lin could endorse Liniment, or vioLins or mandoLins, or the online version of the old chain store Linens-N-Things, or even Lingerie.

But what about non-puns? They actually exist. Really! Lin famously has been sleeping on his brother's couch. How about a couch endorsement deal? Who wouldn't want to buy a magical couch brand that took someone from Golden State Warriors scrub to the biggest sports star in the world?

Or what about doing some ads for Harvard? Lin could really help the school get its name out there.

Harvard

Harvard basketball has been ranked in the Top 25 this season. Harvard football went 9-1 and was undefeated in the Ivy League this past season. Lin's emergence as an NBA superstar just confirms it: Those 376 years of academic excellence aside, Harvard is now a jock school. Expect it to be admitted to the SEC by the time the NBA Finals tip off.

Tim Tebow

His emergence doesn't look quite as impressive now. Yes, he was told he couldn't succeed as an NFL quarterback, but -- unlike Lin -- he was heavily recruited out of high school, played for a recognized college power program, won awards, won national championships, got drafted in the first round, appeared in a Super Bowl commercial and was a household name before he ever started a single game. The Tebow story is nice, but Lin's blows it away. Anointing Tebow as the sports story of the year suddenly feels like buying a new iPhone and watching a newer, better model get released a month later. And, although using dated memes is il-Linvised, I'm doing it anyway: Lin > Tebow.

So what can Tebow do to restore his status as the biggest story in sports? Well, the Nuggets have lost seven of 10. Prove to us how impressive your intangibles really are, Tim.

Carmelo Anthony

His reputation is about to take a greater hit than Tebow's. Unless you think Lin is going to go undefeated for his entire career, the Knicks have a loss on the way. Also on the way? Anthony -- possibly as soon as this week. So, fair or not, when the Knicks lose, it will be blamed on Anthony. Hmm … getting blamed for everything? Looks like the Carmelo-LeBron rivalry might be back on, and it's all thanks to Lin.

Recruiting and scouting

Lin apparently was overlooked by college recruiters because he was skinny and Asian. He apparently was overlooked by NBA scouts because he is Asian and played at Harvard. Recruiters and scouts have a lot of egg on their faces right now. They will be desperate not to let another Lin slip by. Although the Knicks are currently benefiting from Lin's emergence, there are others who will benefit even more. Skinny Asians with good educational backgrounds are going to be getting a lot of looks from talent evaluators this spring.

NBA Finals

If there's one thing the New York Giants taught us this year, it's that you can't spell "elite" without "Eli." Hmm … what are some letters in "Finals"? I see L-I-N. Book it. The Knicks are going to the NBA Finals. It's a guarLintee -- as is a stretch of at least a few more weeks of forced puns.


DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com. He has written a book and written for Comedy Central, The Onion and ESPN The Magazine. He co-hosts the Page 2 Podcast and has appeared on ESPNEWS. You can follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloESPN.

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