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What the New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin has taught us

Lessons learned from Linsanity

New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin: He's going to continue to be the top story in sports for the foreseeable future.

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In an effort to be timely in this lightning-fast world we live in, I often write the Cup Check column at what amounts to the last possible minute. Yes, this practice also has a small bit to do with my tendency toward procrastination, but in this case the procrastination is also beneficial. There's nothing worse than filing a column on Monday or Tuesday that's completely outdated by the time the Volcano hits the street on Thursday.

This week, the waiting served two purposes. Yes, I'm once again ensured Cup Check will be timely when it publishes thanks to the fact that this is, indeed, the very last minute I could possibly write the column and still make deadline. But there's more to it.

Jeremy Lin. Maybe you've heard of him by now. The career-reserve, repeatedly cut, Harvard-educated New York Knicks' point guard has literally, figuratively and unavoidably EXPLODED on the scene over the last week or so.

Did I mention Lin is Asian-American? Did I mention Lin is the first player in league history to have at least 20 points and seven assists in each of his four career starts? Did I mention Lin is the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA, and only the fourth Asian-American in league history? Did I mention that, prior to Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors, Lin was averaging 26.8 points and 8 assists?

Oh, and did I mention that in that game against the Raptors Lin ended up scoring 27 points and tallying 11 assists while also hitting the game-winning three pointer with under a second left to play?

Linsanity! Pure, simple, Linsanity.

Naturally, being an extreme skeptic, I figured it couldn't last. I figured there was no way Lin could keep up this pace. I figured by Thursday when this week's Volcano came out, or certainly by this weekend, the Lin story would be yesterday's news and a Cup Check column dedicated to him would just seem a little silly.

Then Lin and went and hit that game-winning three pointer against the Raptors. This, of course, coming after Friday's one-upping of Kobe Bryant, and all the other Linsanity-related accomplishments that have surrounded it. The Jeremy Lin frenzy has officially reached a new pitch - encroaching on Tebow territory.

At some point it dawned on me. Jeremy Lin is going to continue to be the top story in sports for the foreseeable future. I might as well roll with it. I mean, it's global at this point - the Lin story is a worldwide phenomenon. The New York Times' Keith Bradsher reported Tuesday that there have been 1.4 million Chinese microblog messages mentioning Lin in recent days, and Lin's jersey has even sold out in a country known for its production of counterfeit jerseys. Upping the anti even further, The Washington Post's Paul Mozur and Jenny W. Hsui detailed this week how Taiwan and China are fighting for the right to claim Lin as their own.

The Jeremy Lin story is huge, and only getting bigger.

Trouble is, aside of being entertained, I'm not sure what to say on the subject. And I don't seem to be alone. No one seems to know what to say ... but thanks to some very public mistakes I think we're learning.

Here's where it stands ...

Yes, don't worry, it's cool to acknowledge that a big part of the Lin frenzy revolves around the fact Lin is Asian. This is a fact. What he's done on the court has been impressive, but the fact that he's done it while also being the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA is truly remarkable. It's a great story that understandably captivates people.

Floyd Mayweather, however, has taught us it's not cool to suggest that the ONLY reason the Lin story is big because of his race. As the knuckle-headed boxer tweeted earlier this week, "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise." The statement led to widespread lambasting from folks who apparently expected something else from a man with a celebrated history of racists and homophobic comments.

Topping Mayweather's idiocy, however, national Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock taught us what is DEFINITELY not cool to suggest about Lin when he went to Twitter after Lin led the Knicks to a win over the Lakers and offered this bit of inappropriateness: "Some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight." Naturally, appreciators of good sense and non-racist commentary everywhere cringed upon hearing about Whitlock's tweet, and the Asian American Journalists Association wasted no time in lacing into Whitlock for his so obviously racist remarks. FOX has yet to fire Whitlock, who has apologized, blaming Richard Pryor and his mother.


The Boston Bruins made history last season when the team brought home the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years. And the team may have also made history for the way it partied following the victory, with the player President Barack Obama nicknamed "the Little Ball of Hate" during the Bruins' White House visit, Brad Marchand, leading the way. As Michael Farber took a moment to detail in a wide-ranging and well-crafted profile of Marchand's complex personality in Sports Illustrated, in the days following the Bruins' Stanley Cup victory Marchand and teammate Tyler Seguin partied at levels of epicness usually reserved for The Hangover franchise or Chris Farley. This drunken revelry led to Marchand being excluded from the official commemorative DVD, quite literally because he was still drunk. This tidbit, which made up one paragraph of a three-page profile, was later pounced on by and teased with the mainpage headline "Bruins' Marchand: Too Drunk for DVD interview." Yet another reminder that ESPN still stands for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, and the "Entertainment" comes first. ... NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's salary made headlines recently when Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reported that by the end of his current contract Goodell will make $20 million a year. Currently, Goodell makes more like $10 million, with his deal with the league running through the 2018 season. As The Atlanta Constitution Journal, ESPN and a shit-ton of other media outlets subsequently got the joy of reporting, news of Goodell's increasing salary led Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Roddy White to air his stupidity grievances with the situation on Twitter, tweeting ""How in the hell can u pay a man this much money that cant run tackle or catch." Trying to understand this value system, one can only wonder what you, I or even Steve Jobs might be worth in White's mind. As the ESPN story also deftly pointed out, White signed a six-year, $50 million extension with the Falcons in 2009. ... Finally, the Associated Press reported this week that the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) suspended three officials involved in last Sunday's Rider-Niagara game and the clock mishap that led to Rider being robbed of a last-second victory. According to the AP story, the three officials - Rusty Cooper, Tony Crisp and Kenneth Clark - have been suspended for one game for "failure to note the game clock starting early on the key inbounds play in the final seconds." This is the MAAC, mind you. Meanwhile, in the NFL, referee Bill Leavy continues to work.

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