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10 Things You Need to Know About Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin
Chris Chambers, Getty Images

Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you’ve probably been hearing an awful lot about this Jeremy Lin fellow. The New York Knicks point guard’s completely-out-of-nowhere run began on February 3rd when the-then obscure bench warmer came off the pine to spur the Knicks to a victory over the New Jersey Nets. He was inserted in the starting line-up after that, and since then has led the Knicks — who were previously league laughingstocks — to six more wins in a row.

With this improbable success, the Jeremy Lin story has captured the imagination of all of America. There hasn’t been a sports figure with such sudden cultural relevance since, well, Tim Tebow a couple months ago. Lin is so hot that reportedly Kim Kardashian wants to use him for his fame go out on a date with him. Learn more about the man behind this rampant “lin-sanity.”

He Graduated from Harvard

Part of what makes Lin unique is that he is a Harvard graduate, the first to play in the NBA from that elite institution since 1954. In fact, Lin is the first NBA player from the entire Ivy League since 2003. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other players in the league who recieved top-flight educations. There are currently 14 players who went to Duke on NBA rosters, and Lin’s New York Knicks backcourt mate Landry Field graduated from Stanford.

Harvard Graduate
Robert Spencer Getty Images

He Is One of The First Asian-Americans to Play in the NBA

Jeremy Lin is not the first American-born Asian player in the NBA. That would be 5-foot-7 inch Japanese-American guard Wataru Misaka, who played briefly in 1947. Since then two players with Asian mothers, Raymond Townsend and Rex Walters, have made the Association. But Lin is the first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the league, and is probably already basketball’s most famous Asian-American.

Jeremy Lin
Chris Chambers, Getty Images

He Can Do “The Dougie”

Lin has joined an exclusive club, which includes CNN personality Wolf Blitzer and fellow ‘Sports Illustrated‘ cover model Kate Upton, by having his “Dougie” skills featured in a viral video. While he’s clearly better than Blitzer at the popular dance, how he measures up to Upton probably has a lot to do with whether the viewer is male or female.

He is a Devout Christian

One of the reasons Lin gets linked with Tebow is that, like the Denver Broncos’ Quarterback, Lin is a devout Christian who is open about his faith. After leading the Knicks to their fifth straight win, Lin told reporters “I’m thinking about how I can trust God more. How can I surrender more? How can I bring Him more glory?” Whether or not he’ll kneel in prayer during games and create an internet meme is another story.

Tim Tebow
Jim Rogash, Getty Images

The Knicks Almost Cut Him

There have been reports that the Knicks were on the verge of cutting Lin last month. Journeyman guard Mike James recently confirmed that the Knicks contacted him in January about taking Lin’s roster spot, but then decided to keep Lin at the last minute. So “Linsanity” was this close to never happening.

Jeremy Lin clowning
Getty Images

He Was the Editor of His School Paper

Lin was a great basketball player in high school, leading Palo Alto High to the 2006 California state championship. He was also the editor of the school’s paper, The Paly Voice. Lin combined these two achievements in a column he wrote about winning the championship, which The Paly Voice just reprinted.

Jeremy Lin High school
Nathan Lui

His Name Is Now The World’s Most Famous Pun

For whatever reason, folks can’t get enough of making Lin’s last name into blended words like “lin-credible.” In fact, there is now a website called Linwords which generates an almost endless list of these lin-guistic masterpieces. From now on, any time a baby holds a basketball he will be known as a lin-fant.

Lin puns
Chris Trotman, Getty Images

He’s A Funny Guy

Lin mocked his Harvard pedigree, as well as stereotypes about hard-working Asian high school students, in a comedy short called “How I got Into Harvard.” Lin shot the video in 2011 as a rookie with the Golden State Warriors, and it’s recently become a YouTube favorite. As you can see, Lin is almost as natural in front of the camera as he is running the pick and roll.

He Lived On His Brother’s Couch

When Lin started his improbable run a couple weeks ago his home was a couch in the living room of his older brother’s New York City apartment. Although Lin had signed a $800,000 contract with the Knicks, the money wasn’t guaranteed, so he must have not felt comfortable about committing to his own place in a city with such high rents. Now that he’s feeling a little more sure of himself, Lin just leased a $3,800 a month apartment from former Knick David Lee, which is located next to the team’s practice facility in White Plains, New York.

couch bed
Vicous Bits, Flickr

He might be the real deal

In his first four shots off the bench, Lin had at least 20 points, at least six assists and shot over 50 percent. According to statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver, that has only happened 41 times since 1986, and the players who have accomplished this feat have typically been all-star, if not hall-of-fame level, perfomers. In other words, Jeremy Lin’s no fluke and “lin-sanity” just might be here to stay.

Jeremy Lin dribble
Chris Trotman, Getty Images

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