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Spike Eskin Says: My Linsanity Has Been Ruined

By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Discover. Share. Sensationalize. Debunk. Destroy.

That’s the 72 hour cycle that most interesting news stories follow, and the cycle that that has ruined the Jeremy Lin story for me in about a week.

Discover. By any account, the tale is a pretty amazing one. He played at Harvard, because his home town Stanford wasn’t really interested. He went un-drafted and was cut by two NBA teams, got his accidental chance in the country’s largest market, and scored a record number of points while leading the team, minus its two biggest stars, on a winning streak. Oh by the way, the guy’s Chinese, which if you haven’t noticed, isn’t particularly prevalent in the NBA. He’s sleeping on his brother’s couch, because he wasn’t sure if the Knicks would keep him on the roster. To top it off, by almost every account Lin is a good person.

Share. Nothing about that story isn’t amazing. So incredible in fact, I found myself cheering for him and the Knicks one night as Lin out-dueled Kobe Bryant. I dislike the Knicks with every ounce of my soul, but the world seemed like it’d be a better place if Lin and the Knicks won that game.

And then there was trouble.

Sensationalize. Instead of appreciating the story for what it was, the hype machine took over. They couldn’t keep the jersey on the shelves. The price of autographed Lin memorabilia went through the roof. The question actually started to be asked “what happens when Carmelo Anthony comes back?” And “will Anthony be able to fit in with Lin?” That maybe the Knicks would be better off without, you know, their best players.

He was the new Tim Tebow, even though the stories aren’t really similar at all. Tim Tebow was one of the most celebrated college football players of all time, and a first round draft pick, and not particularly skilled at his job, throwing a football. While Jeremy Lin was a college basketball unknown, a draft day afterthought, and pretty skilled at his jobs, scoring and passing. They were just similar in their Christian faith (rare, I know), and the fact that we were beating the stories to death.

Before you start blaming the “media” for this one, trust me when I tell you it’s not just the media. It’s Twitter, it’s Facebook, it’s all of us.

And then there was more trouble.

Debunk. Because then the myth that had become Jeremy Lin, in the span of a week, needed to torn down. Somehow we needed to prove that he’s not as good as we think he is. That there’s no way it can last. That he’s just a flash in the pan. Not so fast America, things in your rear view mirror may be closer than they appear.

Destroy. And we’re left with people on two sides of a non-existent argument. A bunch of people who never really thought he was definitely that good, against a bunch of people arguing that he’s not. It’s a straw man argument at its worst. And now, no matter how this ends, we’ll have to listen to one side chirping about how right they were.

And all the fun is ruined. The fun of a story that at one time would have been made into a movie, and is now just summed up by opposing side sports-talk TV shows with talking heads who needed a topic after Tebow went by the wayside. Whomever yells the loudest wins.

The underdog story used to end up Invincible. Now it’s destroyed before we know it.

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  • James Li

    Good article Spike, but just want to say, he’s technically Taiwanese-American, not Chinese. The US government recognizes Taiwan as an independent nation and most Taiwanese care deeply about that distinction.

  • zen

    A bit premature.

    Smile. Enjoy. Give the kid his time, whether a week, a year, or a career.

    Turn off the talking heads pre-game and post-game and enjoy the game.

    Not all of us make our living tearing down good things, or waiting to be right.

  • giantslor

    I don’t get this article. Did you see the end of the game last night? Jeremy Lin was so clutch, just a hero. If anything, my Linsanity has reached new heights, as has most people’s. His legend just keeps growing.

    • Spike

      Did you read the article, or just the headline? I mentioned several times I was enjoying the story.

  • lucille

    Maybe in Philadelphia, LosAngeles or New York, Jeremy Lin has been discovered, shared, sensationalized, debunked and is now in the process of being destroyed. But that is definitely not the case in the rest of the U.S. or the world for that matter. We remain focused on his remarkable poise, his intelligence and his athleticism. He is nowhere close to being destroyed.

  • DR. NBA

    This is a poorly written article on Jeremy Lin! No respect or credit given to an underdog who’s been stomped on and denied all his life. He possess the talents, and skills to be a marvelous NBA player. Comparable to an Andre Igoudala, natural scorer, and shooter. BUt the question is why? Why did so many college coaches and scouts overlook him. We all know because he’s Asian. A game populated with so many African Americans. The world forgets that talent is everywhere. Race is not an issue if people learn to open their eyes, and mind to find real talent!

    • Spike

      I’m not quite certain how I don’t give him respect, when I said I called the story amazing and I was cheering for him. I think you may have missed my point, Mark.

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