Jeremy Lin, the sports media hardly knew ye.
For it was only February, when injuries to the Knicks team enabled you to display your basketball talent and spark the phenomenon known as Linsanity. And the sports media took notice.
Unfortunately, at the same time, a few individuals within the sports media couldn’t quite understand Linsanity for what it was.
Like Jason Whitlock.
You remember when, after that victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in which you scored a career-high 38 points in a game, the Fox Sports columnist tweeted that “some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight?”
Or the fine folks at Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, who retracted one of the original ingredients in their “Linsanity” flavor – fortune cookie pieces?
Maybe the MSG Network cameraman who thought it was a good idea to show a fan sign superimposing your face over a fortune cookie at a Knicks game might owe you an apology?
And, of course, there’s ESPN. You remember, Jeremy, how after your first loss as a Knicks starter, multiple instances of the phrase “chink in the armor” began emanating from the Worldwide Leader’s many platforms? And a couple of ESPN employees in Anthony Federico, Spero Dedes – Knicks play-by-play man on New York’s ESPN Radio – and Max Bretos, who paid for their use of the phrase in regards to you with their jobs (or in the latter’s case, a good chunk of it)?
Of course you remember, Jeremy. “They’ve apologized and so from my end, I don’t care anymore. You have to learn to forgive, and I don’t even think that was intentional.” That was what you said in response to ESPN’s mishandling of Linsanity.
And now comes word that you’re leaving the Big Apple for the team that waived you right before the start of the previous strike-shortened, Linsanity-stricken season, the Houston Rockets.
And you know what? I don’t blame you.
I don’t think you’re hightailing it to Houston for the money (i.e. an offer sheet of $25 million over three years, with most of it in the final year, that the Knicks are not expected to match).
No, I think your decision to leave New York was made easier due to a few bad apples in the sports media, particularly ESPN.
See, Houston – or even Oakland, for that matter – is a smaller media market than New York. Hence, ESPN probably won’t be as captivated by Linsanity on the Houston Rockets as it used to be on the New York Knicks. So if you were to score 39 points or higher in a game for Houston, it’ll now be confined to a mere honorable mention on “SportsCenter,” as opposed to the previous fawning over your presence on the program during your Knicks tenure.
In other words, while you’ll continue your storied basketball career and keep writing new chapters for your amazing story, as long as you’re not in a Knicks, Lakers, Heat or Bulls uniform, you’re more or less off the radar.
But the good news is, there will be no more negative vibes coming out of the sports media to worry about.
Yes, Jeremy, I realize that the Asian-American Journalists Association created a list of “danger zones” for journalists to avoid in the wake of the “chink in the armor” episodes at ESPN and others. But it should have never come to that. Because a few individuals neglected to use common sense when reporting, discussing or tweeting about you, that put a damper on Linsanity far before your season-ending injury with roughly a quarter of the regular season remaining.
I understand why you’re leaving, Jeremy. But don’t take it personal, okay?
Meanwhile, there’s still a chance the Knicks might equal that offer sheet from the Rockets (all James Dolan has to do is crank up Cablevision subscribers’ bills a little bit – which would be similar to how Time Warner Cable agreed to crank up their own subscribers’ bills to keep MSG Network on the air at the height of Linsanity).
If you remain a member of the Knicks, Jeremy, Linsanity will live on.
But if you indeed end up heading for Houston, then Linsanity, as we know it, is dead.
Sure, you’ll be in a market where the worst offense in the local sports media is plagiarism – but most importantly, you’ll no longer need to answer to the Jason Whitlocks and the Anthony Federicos of the sports media.
I guess that was your plan all along.
The Lin giveth, the Lin taketh away.