“It goes back to the mental peace,” said Jeremy Lin, reflecting on Linsanity. “You ask me what it was like? I don’t know what it was like, because of the blur. When you have your 30 point, 40 point games, you don’t even remember them. At some point, you don’t even know how many points you have anymore. You’re just in the zone.”
The first time Lin was in the zone was on Feb. 4, 2012, when he put up 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists in a 99-92 win against the Nets. Over the next 25 games, the guy who, up until that point, played 55 minutes all season bumped up his numbers to 18.5 points and 7.7 assists on 44.9% shooting. He dropped 38 in a win against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and hit a game-winning three against the Raptors.
During those weeks, an undrafted point guard from Harvard, who was still staying on his brother’s couch, took the NBA by storm, imposing himself as the savior of the Knicks. The city of New York gave Lin a superstar treatment, offering him benefits only top-tier basketball performers enjoy.
A ton of hotels and places were hitting the Knicks up like, ‘hey, I know he’s on the couch, does he want to stay here? It’s $10,000 rent, but we’ll give him for free, and parking.‘ I was just like, ‘yeah, let’s go. I’ll send the lease.’Jeremy Lin, All The Smoke
But it didn’t end there. “There was another opportunity where it’s like, ‘Hey come, sign some photos, take some pictures, we’ll give you a BMW,'” Lin said. “So I literally did 30 minutes of work, and I got a BMW for the rest of the season. It was just like that type of stuff.”
Usually, it takes people time to get used to that type of stuff. But Lin’s NBA fame came so quickly; he didn’t have time to adjust. The fact it was New York made it even harder for the 23-year-old to deal with it.
I remember one time Jared Jeffries, Landry, and I went to eat, and there was like a window, and my back was faced to the street. I guess somebody saw me and when we finished eating, and I turned back around, there was like 50 kids from the school next to the restaurant and paparazzi.Jeremy Lin, All The Smoke
Some Knicks fans even found out where he lived. They would drop cakes at his door and stop him from closing it until he took pictures with them. But the craze was short-lived. After the Knicks announced on March 31 that he would undergo knee surgery, Linsanity was officially over. And so were the off-the-court perks Lin enjoyed as the Knicks superstar.