Wednesday, February 15, 2012
President Obama watching Jeremy Lin
Even the president of the United States and the NBA commissioner are "all-Lin."
Commissioner David Stern called New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin's meteoric rise a "phenomenon," according to USA Today.
"I think it's a huge win for the NBA Development League (where the Knicks briefly sent Lin) because what we do is, we keep players around to give them that one more shot -- and you never know," Stern told the newspaper.
"The conventional is wisdom is that you know everyone who's going to be coming into your league by the time of the McDonald's High School All-American game. It's so much fun to see some unpredictability thrown in, and I hasten to add, it's been five games only. So we'll see. I think it's wonderful."
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lin is the first player to score 20 or more points in each of his first five starts, whose team has won all those games, since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976-77. And his 136 points in those starts is the highest total for a player in his first five starts since John Drew scored 139 points for the Hawks in the 1974-75 season.
Meanwhile, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ESPN.com that President Barack Obama has been following Lin this past week and watched Lin hit the game-winning 3-point shot that beat the Raptors Tuesday night in Toronto.
"That's great. That's a great story," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni. "(Obama's) a basketball fan. He might even think he can take (Lin), I don't know."
The president discussed the shot with aides on Marine One earlier Wednesday on the way to Andrews Air Force Base, before flying to Milwaukee.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Lin's success is "just a great story, and the president was saying as much this morning."
It's a story that "transcends the sport itself," Carney added.
Lin said he is, "very honored, very humbled" over the attention from President Obama.
"I mean, wow, the president. Nothing better than that," he said after scoring 10 points and handing out 13 assists in the Knicks' 100-85 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso revealed Tuesday he was offered Lin during the offseason. Laso declined to add Lin to Real Madrid's roster.
"We were offered Jeremy Lin, but we did not think much of him," Laso said. "... Last summer, during the lockout, he was being shopped all around Europe. We were actually offered a lot of players, a lot of better players. Now, he has emerged with all the injuries New York is going through. He's playing well. Maybe he has a strong year and then his level (of play) declines. You never know."
Now, Lin has surpassed reigning MVP Derrick Rose ... in uniform sales.
The league said that Lin's jersey is the top seller this week at the NBA online store. Rose had been the leader. Still, the Chicago Bulls guard, who has been sidelined with a bad back, is fired up about Lin's success.
"Jeremy, he's playing, man," Rose said. "He's playing well and with a lot of confidence. Like I always say, that's all you need in this league is confidence. He definitely has that. His teammates believe in him and I like him as a player."
Stern was asked if Lin would be allowed to participate in the Rising Stars game for first- and second-year players at All-Star Weekend. Stern said no, but Lin could appear in a skills competition.
Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz and ESPNNewYork.com contributor Ian Begley was used in this report.