Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

NBA's 'Linsanity' offers marketing promise

Sports merchandisers wonder if Jeremy Lin's success will help them sell to Asians.

Story highlights

  • Lin is a "marketing dream come true," one PR executive says
  • The former unknown has guided the Knicks to seven straight wins
  • New York media have dubbed the phenomenon "Linsanity"
  • President Barack Obama is also apparently "very impressed" with the unlikely star

Jeremy Lin, the 23-year-old point guard of Taiwanese descent who has come out of nowhere to guide the New York Knicks to seven straight wins, has left many wondering if he can also help his team gain ground among Asian consumers.

"Jeremy Lin is a marketing dream come true," said Ronn Torossian, chief executive of New York-based 5W Public Relations. "If somebody had a checklist of what a brand should be, Jeremy Lin hits every one."

It has been only 10 days since the Harvard graduate was called off the bench, immediately becoming the Knicks' unlikely savior. In his first game, he scored 25 points to help his team beat the New Jersey Nets, and last Friday, his 38 points outscored Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers for another Knicks win.

New York media have dubbed the phenomenon "Linsanity," and the previously unknown economics major has exploded on social media, reaching more than 300,000 followers on Twitter.

His last-second heroics Tuesday, sinking a game-winning 3-point shot against the Toronto Raptors, have only added to the buzz. On Wednesday, Lin had a career-best 13 assists to lead the Knicks past the Sacramento Kings.

    Just Watched

    Basketball phenom a Lin-spiration

Basketball phenom a Lin-spiration 02:23
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Are you going 'Lin-sane' over Lin puns?

Are you going 'Lin-sane' over Lin puns? 02:04
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    'Linsanity' strikes again in NYC

'Linsanity' strikes again in NYC 02:49
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Harvard students excited over Jeremy Lin

Harvard students excited over Jeremy Lin 01:01
PLAY VIDEO

"He's made the Knicks relevant again," said Larry Dimitriou, manager of a Modell's Sporting Goods store in Manhattan.

    Dimitriou started selling Lin's No. 17 jersey last week and said he has since had trouble keeping them in stock.

    "We constantly get Lin jerseys every day," he said. "I put one in the window to show people we have them. A short time later, they're gone."

    President Barack Obama is also apparently "very impressed" with the NBA's new star, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Wednesday.

    But some say Lin's appeal and market potential aren't unique.

    Chinese national Yao Ming, who at 7 feet, 6 inches burst onto the scene during the 2002-03 NBA season, helped his Houston Rockets expand merchandise sales and viewership in Chinese markets over his eight seasons with the team, analysts say.

    Whether Lin could fill the void left by Yao's retirement is unclear, though some appear cautious.

    "We have to remember, it's only 10 days in," noted Roman Garcia, director of digital strategy at Taylor Strategy, a public relations firm. "We know Lin is really good at pushing the ball down the court but we have yet to see if he's good at pushing a brand, or a community."

    What's most important, Garcia said, is whether Lin has that potential.

        Sports spotlight

      • AG2R pair Peraud and Romain Bardet (right) thrilled the French fans with their performances on the 2014 Tour de France.

        Whisper it quietly, but after years of foreign domination the prospect of a French winner of the Tour de France is more than just a mere pipe dream.
      • Steve Way leads the in the Commonwealth Games marathon with the favorites massing behind him.

        Seven years ago Steve Way was a 20 per day smoker and weighed a hefty 104 kg, but he led the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
      • After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
      • Joanna Rowsell is flanked by Australian duo Annette Edmonson and Amy Cure (right) after the medal presentation for the women's individual pursuit.

        Inspirational cyclist Joanna Rowsell added another gold to her growing collection in the individual pursuit at the Commonwealth Games.
      • GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JULY 23: John Barrowman performs during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

        At the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, an actor upstaged the Queen by kissing a male dancer.
      • Daniel Carter of the All Blacks in action during the Third Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Yarrow Stadium on June 22, 2013 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

        The All Blacks and their fans are focused on one thing, says Dan Carter: becoming the first rugby nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
      • FOR USE ON CNN PHOTO BLOG ONLY

        Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
      • SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23:  Sidney Crosby #87 of Canada celebrates after scoring his team's second goal in the second period during the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match against Sweden on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

        With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
      • The first cover star of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, Babette March

        Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.