By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What if Jeremy Lin were a Bobcat? Just imagine the fever that would be gripping several blocks of downtown Charlotte.

His name would be on the lips of fans and non-fans for over a square mile.

If you think about it, that might have been the best thing that could have happened to Lin.

The best thing that could have happened to the NBA did.

Having Lin land at Madison Square Garden, where New York Knicks fans are still waiting for Jon Starks and Patrick Ewing to make a comeback, could not have been more fortuitous.

Had he gone to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls, he'd still likely be on the bench, hoping his next 10-day contract would be approved. Instead, he's the toast of everything.


Google searches.


TV ratings.

Back-to-back covers of Sports Illustrated (will a Bobcat ever have that honor?).

The cash register.

That's the biggie.

Sales on the Knicks' online store were up more than 4,000 percent in the early stages of Linsanity (I hate that term and promise not to use it again).

A savior has come to New York and if he keeps doing what he's doing, maybe the Knicks, dreadful until he arrived, could make the playoffs.

How amazing would that be?

Less than two months ago, Knicks fans had to be happy this season was only going to be 66 games - better to get it over with faster.


Even those of us who couldn't tell Walt Frazier from Joe Frazier check the NBA schedule to see if Jeremy and the guys are suiting up.

Of course, there are the detractors. The ones who say Lin turns the ball over too often. That he's too careless.

And that there's a good reason why two teams cut him and he was spending his court time in Reno with the Bighorns of the D-League.

But those detractors are being silenced a bit because Lin is showing he belongs.

This whole thing is moving right along and every mention of him isn't being followed by "He's a Harvard grad" or "He's bringing the Asian fan to the game."

That's progress.

It's also showing acceptance, probably one of the few things Lin wanted from basketball. That, and a job in the NBA.

Now, he can't go to any city without being the guy everyone wants to be around. It's madness in Manhattan, but crazy on the road, too.

At some point, that's going to get to him. How many places can he go and be left alone?

And we're not just talking in the good old United States. It won't be long until wherever they bounce a basketball, somebody will be sporting a No. 17 jersey. David Stern must wake up every morning and high five his Jeremy Lin Fathead. And who could blame him?

And that brings us back to the Bobcats.

If Lin were in Charlotte, he'd still have shown that an Ivy Leaguer could belong. And if the 'Cats got off to a 7-1 start when he was put into the lineup, they'd still stink, but few would care.

There would be no nightly updates and no ESPN fawning every minute. Wouldn't that be nice?

Lin might wish it were that way sooner than he ever could have imagined.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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