Understanding Linsanity: 'He Makes Us All a Little More Free to Dream'

Why are fans so taken with the Knicks' new superstar point guard?

roundtable_jeremylin_post.jpg

AP Images

Every week, our panel of sports fans discusses a topic of the moment. For today's conversation, Jake Simpson (writer, The Atlantic), Patrick Hruby (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic), and Hampton Stevens (writer, ESPN and The Atlantic) talk about the forces behind Jeremy Lin mania.


Hey, guys,

What do you get when you cross New York basketball, Harvard, Asian-American culture, the Internet, and a point guard who's overcome more obstacles than Rudy and made a more improbable run than Tim Tebow? You get a little LIN-sane in the membrane.

I'm speaking, of course, of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks' guard who has become national news after a six-game stretch that defies rational thought. Six games of 35-plus minutes, six wins, five starts, a 38-point masterpiece against the Lakers, a game-winning free throw against the Timberwolves, and a game-winning three-pointer with half a second left on Tuesday against the Raptors. Not to mention a cultural tidal wave that has gripped New York—to the point where the guy at my local deli can talk about nothing else.

What fascinates me most about Lin is that there are so many explanations for the Linsanity sweeping the nation. First Harvard grad to play in the NBA since 1954. Only Asian-American currently in the league. Point guard for a Knicks franchise that hasn't won it all since 1973 and a fan base desperate for something to get excited about. But to me, it seems like the real impetus for Linsanity is that the kid is the American Dream personified. Undrafted and cut by two different teams in the last two months, Lin has persevered, and when he was finally a shot he made the most of it and then some. That, not his race or alma mater, is what fans are relating to.

You agree, Patrick/Hampton? Or do you spy another cause of Linsanity?

–Jake

Presented by

Sports Roundtable

Patrick Hruby, Jake Simpson, and Hampton Stevens 

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Entertainment

Just In