Two months ago, I’d bet a lot of money you’d never heard of Jeremy Lin. And that would be totally okay — two months ago he was living on a couch in New York City, was the bottom point guard on the Knicks’ roster (which is kind of like being #1 on ESPN’s Not Top Ten), and was generally a nobody. But today? Today he’s easily the best player on the Knicks, he’s led his team to an improbable string of victories, and he’s inspired many a karaoke rap entitled “Jeremy Lin.” (At least one, anyway. From my friends. This weekend.)
Jeremy Lin is also a massive economic wave, at least for the moment. His jersey is selling like crazy, more than Amar’e Stoudemire’s or Carmelo Anthony’s (two guys you’d probably heard of two months ago) over the last two weeks. During his improbably heroic run, the share price of Madison Square Garden, Inc. (the Knicks’ parent company) is at a record high. TV ratings have also been spiking, as the New York Times reports:
Hope that the Knicks have truly found someone to run their offense is fueling MSG’s ratings. Monday’s game had a 2.68 rating, or 197,993 local TV households; on Wednesday, 178,045 homes were watching.
The Lin-infused ratings have helped push the Knicks’ season average to a 1.88 (138,890 homes), which is up 66 percent from a 1.13 (84,922 homes) last year, despite the Time Warner Cable impasse.
That same Times piece even goes so far as to wonder if Jeremy Lin can be the driving force behind Time Warner Cable and the MSG network resolving their differences, so that New Yorkers will be able to watch all the Linsanity.
There is, of course, good reason for the hype: Lin’s playing as well as anyone in the league at the moment, and he has yet to show a sign of slowing down. If he can keep it up for a whole season, his next contract should be a huge one, but at the moment Lin’s $788,872 salary looks like the deal of the decade for the Knicks.
(Photo via DvYang / Flickr)