It was one year ago when it started spreading, reaching not only the United States but the world at large. When the news started trickling out, nobody could recall anything like it happening before. "Man, do you hear what's happening in New York City right now?"
I mean, really, how could you forget Linsanity?
For those that don't have their personal Jeremy Lin-themed calendar handy, Monday is the one-year anniversary of Linsanity's outbreak.
Just a year ago today, an unheralded young Asian American basketball player, plucked from an Ivy League school and armed with a then-unknown array of athletic talents, waded into Madison Square Garden for a game against the New Jersey Nets, his 10th game in a New York Knicks uniform.
A year later, a Linsanity later, nothing feels quite the same.
The Nets are no longer lingering in New Jersey -- they're rocking all-black uniforms and filling an arena in one of the league's most hipster-friendly markets. And Jeremy Lin? He's not with theanymore, but he's handsomely wealthy and showcasing his talents in one of America's other major cities.
As for the gallons of ink spilled on his name? The millions of adoring fans around the world tuning into his exploits like he's basketball's Next Big Thing? Heck, even the $25 million contract he signed with the Rockets over summer? Those things happened because of a crazy period, a Linsane period, that began on that chilly night in Manhattan.
At the time, the Knicks were just floundering along, staring at an 8-15 record roughly one-third of the way through the lockout-shortened season, still hoping for that moment when everything would click and the Carmelo Anthony/Amare Stoudemire duo would start piling up victories.
Before Lin, the Kincks hardly had a point guard, primarily funneling their offense through isolation-hungry players like Anthony and
J.R. Smith. Baron Davis and Mike Bibby weren't answers to the team's point guard problems, they were answers to the trivia question, "Name two players that finished in the top-10 in assists in 2001?"
And, perfect as it may have been, the Knicks were run by an offense-obsessed coach with little to lose. Whether Mike D'Antoni knew what he had in Lin or not, the inventor of the "7 Seconds or Less" offense rolled the dice with a Harvard grad playing in his 39th NBA game.
What happened next, is Linsanity's Ground Zero: 25 points, five rebounds, seven assists and a whole lot of jaws being picked up off the floor. The Knicks beat the Nets, 99-92.
Over the next couple weeks, Lin continued to do things that normal NBA players aren't supposed to do, let alone skinny inexperienced players hailing from the Ivy League: hitting a game-winning buzzer-beater on the road, becoming just the 15th player since 1985 to record 20 points, seven assists and a steal in six straight games, leading the Knicks to victories.
Of course, in the end, we learned that wasn't really Jeremy Lin; that was Linsanity, one of those times when the hot hand just didn't go cold. But that's not necessarily a knock on Lin -- he's still a good player, with a reputation (and contract situation) lightyears ahead of where it was before that game against New Jersey.
Are we still Linsane? No, we're not, because time cures all. But those few weeks were very real, very special, and we'd all be better to remember how awesome they were.
See, that was a little fun, wasn't it?
Editor's note: J.R. Smith did not join the Knicks until after Linsanty began. We regret the error.