The Jersey City store in Richmond Centre was open to 7 p.m. on Tuesday — or in Lin-sanity terms, for about 30
minutes after New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin drained a three-pointer with half-a-second remaining to lift his team to a dramatic 90-87 win over the Toronto Raptors.
In that time, over a dozen Asian customers came in looking for a No. 17 Knicks jersey. The Lin phenomenon has definitely hit the West Coast.
“Oh my goodness,” said Jersey City employee Alberto Hernandez when asked how many had been in looking for a Lin jersey in the 10 days since the first U.S.-born NBA player of ethnic Chinese heritage had become a spectacular overnight success and a cultural supernova.
“I can’t tell you a number, but it’s a lot.”
Unfortunately, the only Knicks jersey the store carries belongs to Carmelo Anthony. Hernandez suggested, however, that Adidas Canada is almost certainly rushing to get Lin jerseys into stores.
Lin, born in California to Taiwanese parents and educated at Harvard after not being recruited by any NCAA Division I schools, went undrafted by the NBA. He got a chance in summer league play with Dallas and was an end-of-the-bench body-warmer with Golden State and Houston earlier this season before the Knicks picked him up.
Thrust into a starter’s role, Lin, 23, has miraculously led the struggling Knicks to six straight wins heading into action Wednesday night and quickly become a touchstone for basketball-crazy Chinese. They had been desperately looking for someone to worship with Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6 Chinese national who starred for Houston, having retired.
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