Welcome to our Decade of Basketball series, reminiscing about the greatest moments in the sport in the 2010s. Through video, we will relive the times from the last 10 years that bring goosebumps to the arms of those who witnessed them. Let’s celebrate the last decade of basketball and look forward to the next one we’re about to experience.
Jeremy Lin wasn’t in the NBA until a few days into the 2011-12 lockout-truncated season. The Houston Rockets had waived him before the campaign, but on Dec. 27, 2011, the New York Knicks gave him a shot.
By March 2012, he was a household name.
How did this happen? Linsanity, that’s how.
Lin was signed to add point guard depth and nothing more. New York’s backcourt was hit with injuries and age, but he still wasn’t excepted to factor in much. Before the Knicks played the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 4, 2012, Lin had appeared in nine games in six weeks, logging double-digit minutes only once.
But against the Nets, Lin scored 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting as the Knicks won, 99-92, giving birth to two of the craziest weeks in the decade of basketball. You can watch his full performance that night here.
Lin scored at least 20 in the next five games, and his popular and Linsanity reached crescendo when he nailed a pull-up triple with 0.5 seconds remaining over Jose Calderon to defeat the Raptors in Toronto, 90-87, giving him 27 points on the night. Fans waving Taiwanese flags in the Air Canada Centre lost their minds.
While Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the biggest names on the Knicks squad, were out with injuries, Lin led the team to seven-straight victories. After finally losing a game with Lin as the team’s centerpiece, New York and Lin bounced back to find a 104-97 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks, pushing the Knicks to 8-1 in the Linsanity era.
But in the following game, Anthony would make his return, and that would mark the beginning of the end of Linsanity. The team went 2-6 in its next eight games, head coach Mike D’Antoni resigned from his position and much of the hype surrounding Lin and the team dissipated.
After D’Antoni’s departure, the Knicks did experience a small resurgence, winning their next five games. Lin still put up solid statlines in more games than not, but it wasn’t the same. Then, Linsanity officially ended March 24 when the point guard left a game against the Detroit Pistons with soreness in his knee. It was monitored day-to-day originally, but that stretched out further until New York announced Lin would have surgery to solve a torn meniscus in his left knee with a six-week recovery time, and he remained inactive for the rest of the campaign.
Lin never quite captured the same magic he had during those couple of weeks in February 2012, but he did carve out a nice NBA career for himself. He spent roughly 10 years in the league until 2019 and now plays in the CBA after signing with the Beijing Ducks in August.