Friday July 20, 2012
New York mourns the end of ‘Linsanity’
NEW YORK: New York Knicks fans awoke on Wednesday to the headlines none wanted to see: “End of the Lin,” “Lin is Gone” – for many the loss of star point guard Jeremy Lin felt like a betrayal.
The Knicks confirmed late Tuesday that they wouldn’t match the Houston Rockets’ three-year, US$25mil offer for the emblematic 23-year-old.
“We’re losing more than one player. He was a symbol of the city,” Jason Gutierrez, a 29-year-old musician, said outside the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Just six months ago, no one apart from diehard basketball fans had heard of Jeremy Lin and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was even considering releasing him before his contract became guaranteed.
An injury to recently-signed guard Baron Davis gave Lin his chance in February and what followed became know as “Linsanity” as the player sparked a seven-game winning streak for a team that had lost 11 of its last 13 games.
Thrilling New York fans with his clutch shooting and passing skills, he quickly became a global sensation, especially in Asia.
He became the first player in NBA history to score at least 20 points and pass for seven assists in his first five starts.
He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice and was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People as even casual basketball fans found themselves charmed by a Cinderella story that included a spell sleeping on Knicks team-mate Landry Fields’s couch.
Now his sparkling Broadway run is over, but the point guard who took New York by storm says he is excited to launch the next phase of his NBA career with the Houston Rockets.
“Extremely excited and honoured to be a Houston Rocket again!!” Lin said on Twitter shortly after his departure to Houston was confirmed.
The Knicks announced their decision less than two hours before a midnight deadline, sparking dismay among fans who couldn’t believe the “Linsane” dream was over. — AFP