2011-2012 was, on the whole, a pretty grim year for Knicks fans. The season was short because of a lockout, the team was somewhere between bad and okay, and any continuity in performance suffered because of injuries and a midseason coaching change.
But for a few weeks that winter, almost out of the blue, the Knicks were the biggest and happiest sports story on the planet, all because of Jeremy Lin.
Lin didn’t come out of nowhere — his background as an Asian-American, Harvard-educated, undrafted point guard prospect attracted attention even as he languished on the benches of a couple different teams for his first few seasons. But New York provided a unique opportunity: a team so depleted and so desperate that they’d let a 23-year-old with no meaningful experience play big minutes basically on a whim.
The first time coach Mike D’Antoni let Lin loose would have been legendary even if the story ended there. Lin came off the bench to outplay Deron Williams and score 25 points in a win over the Nets.
But the story kept unfolding. One “Jeremy Lin Game” became two, then three, then a whole multi-week phenomenon known as “Linsanity.” It didn’t last forever, or even a while, but there’s never been anything quite like it. Linsanity was the best. This video explains why.