The NBA's in a bit of a pickle. They've got their All-Star Weekend — a big, shallow PR monstrosity calculated even more than usual to draw as many eyes and sell as many Haier fridge-televisions as possible — coming up at the end of the month. They've also got Jeremy Lin: a single player who's unassumingly generated more positive publicity for the league than anybody has in quite a while. Problem is, given the timing and rapidity of Lin's ascent, there's no obvious way to rope him into the All-Star festivities. Voting for the main event took place a while ago (whether or not he deserves it, make no mistake that Lin would get a ton of support if they re-did the fan voting today), the Rookie-Sophomore pool has already been chosen, and Lin isn't enough of a dunker or three-point specialist to gain entry into either of those events. So, the league's going to have to be creative if they want Linsanity in Orlando that weekend.
Frank Isola of the Daily News reports that the league is considering shoehorning Lin into the "Shooting Stars" competition — not exactly a high-profile or interesting event, but enough to draw Lin down to Orlando:
According to a source, the NBA is hoping to add Lin to its All-Star lineup by having him participate in the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. The competition features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one TNT on-air talent and legend on each team.
Yeah. It's every bit as enthralling as it sounds. A few other options they might consider:
Invite Jeremy to be a Dunk Contest prop. This would probably require a Knick to be in the Dunk Contest. Iman Shumpert's the only Knick rumored to be a potential candidate, and he's routinely missed dunks all season, so this might be tough.
Deliberately injure a bunch of the guards on the Eastern squad so that Jeremy can serve as a replacement. I see no problem with this one.
Invite Jeremy to be an analyst/panelist/judge of some sort. This would totally backfire because, for all his on-court temerity, Lin is totally deadpan and polite off the court.
Just make a new event called "Linsanity." It'd be unprecedented, but would anybody really object? You just stick Jeremy in a room with a bunch of cameras and let people take pictures and scream semi-racist puns at him. Everybody wins. Except for Jeremy.
Whatever it may be, it seems likely that the NBA will find a way to get Lin to Orlando on the weekend of the 24th. The league's biggest midseason PR event and its biggest positive story thus far simply can't avoid one another. Knicks fans, meanwhile, would probably prefer that he just get some rest. The last thing the kid needs is more activity and attention.