A week and a half ago, you had probably never heard his name; now you're no doubt sick of the puns. If you had heard of Jeremy Lin, he was as an undrafted, backup backup backup NBA point guard who had been dumped by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before signing on with the guard-needy New York Knicks this offseason.
Now he’s set the NBA world afire, becoming the first player in history to score 20 or more points and assist on seven or more baskets a game in his first four starts, all New York victories. Take that, Michael Jordan.
Lin is being paid $800,000 this season, the league minimum for a second-year player, but his brand has risen exponentially in the past week. According to Forbes, Lin’s brand is worth $14 million right now. Not bad for a guy who was couch-surfing — crashing at his brother's NYC apartment — not long ago.
“Sales of his number 17 jersey are robust and the social media aggregation website Topsy.com says that over the past seven days, “Lin” has been mentioned more than 140K,” Forbes reports. Not only that, since Lin had his first big game back on Feb. 4 — scoring 25 points, pulling down five rebounds, and assisting seven times against the New Jersey Nets — “MSG’s stock price has increased from $29.32 to $31.15 February 10th, or 6%, adding $139 million to the company’s market value,” Forbes reports. Meanwhile, “the S&P 500 has gone up less than 1%” in that same time, the site points out.
Right now, Lin is tied with Kobe Bryant for sixth place in athlete brands worldwide, Forbes claims.
The Lin Effect also spills over into the TV world. TheWrap.com points out that the Madison Square Garden's cable TV channel, MSG Network, ratings during Knicks games since Lin took over as the starting point guard “have drawn 70 percent higher ratings than the previous 20 games, averaging a 3.08 household rating versus the previous 20 games' 1.81 household rating.”
Not too shabby. But can he do it again? Can the Linsanity roll onward? The Knicks take on the division rival Toronto Raptors Tuesday night and will likely be adding the services of six-time All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire, who has missed Lin’s first four starts due to the sudden death of his brother.
Lin will be a restricted free agent this summer, which means any team will be able to make an offer to him but the Knicks will have the opportunity to match any of those offers Lin is interested in. If he can keep his team competitive each night, the Knicks may have to shell out some bigger bucks for a player that nobody seemed to want less than two weeks ago.