I knew Jeremy Lin was no longer a thing when, at some point in late March, the family up the block took the Taiwanese flag down from their window. They are not Taiwanese.
Linsanity meant all things to all people. He was a basketball success story, from his brother’s couch and the waiver wire to the buzz of the Garden, All-Star weekend. There were no limits to what he could do for other people’s money, from resolving the MSG–Time Warner dispute to selling magazines, sneakers, e-books filled with Lin aphorisms, replica jerseys, and Volvos. The sub-Tebow intensity of his Christianity made him seem untainted but in a more relatable way, so much so that the rumors linking him with Kim Kardashian felt like some strange, Alien-vs.-Predator merging of incompatible universes. A novelty is something you condescend to, and Lin long surpassed that—his fame a test of whether it was possible to think-piece and hashtag someone to death.
Of course, Linsanity was also just ridiculously fun. I’ll never forget that glorious Friday-night win against the Lakers; a roomful of adults paused the broadcast numerous times to take pictures of the score line on the screen. Was this actually happening? As I walked toward the subway from my friend’s Stuy Town apartment, every bar with a TV seemed to be tuned to the same highlights, clusters of men and women having variations of the same conversation.
Lin escaped New York before he ever got recast as a bum, or even a point guard not quite good enough to average a triple-double over 82 games. We awoke and returned to the present, where more familiar pastimes awaited: hating ownership, telling ourselves that Linsanity would never have scaled those heights in any other city, dreaming of a biopic that will never get made because, honestly, who would make a movie featuring an Asian-American male lead?