Jeremy Lin has vaulted to stardom in the NBA, and during his team’s most recent win at Madison Square Garden, fans were on their feet chanting for Lin even when he went to the bench with his team ahead by a large margin. As Rich Maese reported :

The plushest seats at Madison Square Garden are filled with Oscar winners, Grammy winners, a famous boxing champion, even a former vice president. But on this night, they were all simply taking in the show. The New York Knicks were up by 26 points when the fans broke into a chant — “We want Lin!” — begging for their newest hero to play just a bit more.

Everyone wants Jeremy Lin these days. Unknown just a couple of weeks ago, the 23-year-old basketball player’s celebrity has skyrocketed. Unlike most success stories from the sports world, it’s not just basketball fans who are along for the ride on this one. For many, he’s much more than a mere point guard.

People gravitate toward one part of his story based on their own story, based on what’s important to them,” said Peter Chin, a Washington area pastor. “There’s a lot of reasons to be compelled by this because there’s something for everyone.”

Lin’s tale of woe and redemption has been difficult to miss: scholarship-less out of high school, he went Harvard. Team-less after the NBA draft, he bounced around the league. Jobless at the start of 2012, he’s now a bona fide star. The NBA emerged from its messy labor strife last year facing an uncertain future, and at the season’s midpoint, Lin is suddenly the league’s biggest hope.

In the Knicks’ most recent game — a 100-85 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday evening — Lin lobbed an alley-oop pass toward the hoop, and fans jumped from their seats. For a second, it felt like Madison Square Garden was lifting off the ground. And it’s true, New York — the city’s basketball diehards and novices alike — are intoxicated with “Linsanity,” floating together, enjoying this unlikely trip and hoping they never have to come down.

“The fans are on fire,” Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire said.

“It’s really indescribable,” guard Landry Fields said.

Jeremy Lin has given Asian-American sports fans a new hero, and many are happy for his success because it shows another side to their community which is sometimes derided. As AP explained:

They know what it feels like to be overlooked. People assume they are weak, servile, out of place. So when these Asian-Americans watch Jeremy Lin slash and shoot his way through the NBA’s finest, it’s almost as if they are on the basketball court with the California-born point guard who has set the zeitgeist on fire.

Asian-Americans have rallied around other athletes — Michael Chang, Hideo Nomo, Yao Ming, Michelle Wie, Ichiro Suzuki. Tiger Woods was embraced for his Thai side. But Lin has a new and different appeal.

As the child of Taiwanese immigrants, Lin is quintessentially Asian-American. He was ignored instead of hyped. He emerged from the end of the bench to hoist the sinking New York Knicks to win after improbable win. A few hints of racism have scratched the edges of his growing fame, but Lin continues to put up unprecedented numbers and capture the imagination of mainstream America.

In a mere half-dozen games, Lin became that rarest of Asian-Americans: a widely regarded hero.

“There’s a certain validation to this,” said Phil Yu, founder of the influential blog Angry Asian Man, which tracks and discusses Asian issues.

“Asian-Americans are still seen as foreigners in this country,” Yu said. “Seeing Jeremy Lin accepted and celebrated in this American sport, it makes us more American, and it makes other people see us as more American.”

Linsanity, Lintensity, Amasian among other words have been cobbled together to attempt to explain Jeremy Lin’s rise to prominence in the American consciousness. Even readers on BlogPost had their own take on Jeremy Lin. As Elizabeth Flock reported:

Today we are launching a weekly feature derived from complicated algorithms, a rigorous scientific formula and, occasionally, a blogger’s mood swings: BlogPost’s “Comment of the Week.”

The first winner commented on Melissa Bell’s post Friday about how New York Times columnist David Brooks may have flubbed his column on New York Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin. This commenter got creative and won in part for putting his response in the form of a limerick. (Brooks’s column said that the biggest anomaly about Lin is that he is a religious person in professional sports; sports fans immediately cried foul.)

Here’s the winning comment, from John Dillon of New Haven, Conn.:

Religion's on basketball courts!

(Or so David Brooks now reports);

The truer anomaly

Is printing a homily

By eggheads unlettered in sports.

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