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Journalists and the Knicks' Jeremy Lin

Jeremy-lin[1]When the New York Knicks meet the Toronto Raptors tonight just a few kilometers up the Queen Elizabeth Way, the big buzz will be Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.   The excitement has even helped to coin a new word: "Linsanity."

The Harvard graduate who has been playing until recently without a contract, and who is the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent, has taken Basketball Nation by storm in the past two weeks.  Capitalizing on the absence of two of his star teammates (Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire), Lin has given the Knicks a five-game winning streak and a shot at the playoffs, improving the team's record to 13-15. He even outscored Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant on his home court.

Meanwhile, his status as a rare Asian-American player in the NBA has become a challenge for journalists covering him, with one major gaffe (and requisite follow-up apology) already on the record. 
 
Tom Huang's thoughtful piece for Poynter.org takes up what happened in that instance and the broader diversity lessons for journalists.   (Huang is a Dallas Morning News assistant managing editor and diversity fellow at the Poynter Institute.)

Also well worth a read is Jay Caspian Kang's admiring takeout for Grantland, the ambitious online sports journal.   The underlying reason for all the buzz, says this Asian-American writer, is simple: "Basketball is at its best when five guys who love to play with one another outhustle and outplay a more talented opponent."  And on the essence of Lin's game: "He can get to the hoop. Lin has been most effective in the pick-and-roll, which makes up about half of his possessions. He employs a series of hesitations, crossovers, and spin moves to get into the lane. ..."

Taiwan-based Next Media Animation offers this youthful coverage, complete with animation and hoop-shooting, of their countryman, from three charming young female commentators.

Meanwhile, ever the contrarian, the Daily Beast's Buzz Bissinger offers this calm-the-hysteria commentary.  Though he admires Lin for being "quick and fearless to the hoop," he makes the unassailable point that "four games do not a career make."

Still, among NBA fans, New Yorkers, Harvard grads, Asian-Americans, and anyone who loves a good story, all eyes will be on the Air Canada Centre tonight.

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P.S. Thinking of a last-minute road trip? USA Today reported Monday that courtside seats were selling for more than $1,600.  (Similar tickets for Toronto's next home game, against the San Antonio Spurs, top out at $896.)  Now that's  Linsanity.

(AP photo)

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