Let’s pretend, for a moment, that Golden State or Houston realized their good fortune in stumbling upon Jeremy Lin. In a streak of unparalleled excellence during his first string of NBA starts, he makes all the shots and sets all the records he has while with New York. But he’s not in New York. He’s in Texas or California, beyond the reach of the hype centers that are Los Angeles and New York.
Would he get this much attention? Would he be the sole focus of the NBA? Would ESPN (and Yahoo!, in fairness) devote vast chunks of its entire catalogue of programming to overlooked, yet overachieving rising star? Does the phenomenon known as Linsanity exist?
No. None of that happens. So please, quit pretending that media markets aren’t inflating a great story that they would have otherwise cheerfully noted alongside the progress of young stars like Ricky Rubio.
Rather than shine a light on Houston or Golden State, giving either franchise a desperately needed moment in the sun, they would be cast as lovely sideshows with potential for something special. Lin would be inspiring, but not riding a tidal wave of hysteria.
Instead, the great media machine wins out.