Jamie Samuelsen: Mr. Commissioner – Put Jeremy Lin In The All-Star Game

When a story like the Jeremy Lin phenomenon hits Day 7, we in the media have no choice but to do one of two things.

1) Ignore it. Move on. And try to find something new to talk about.
2) Embrace it. Analyze it. And find a new way to spin it.

And since there is nothing else going on in sports right now – I’m Lin!

So instead of trying to figure out the social significance of Lin and projecting where this story is heading, I offer this modest proposal to NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Put Jeremy Lin in the All-Star Game.

I know he’s only played in seven games this year. I know he’s started six. I know that ten days ago, most Americans (and many NBA fans) didn’t even know who he was. The fact is that he is now the single biggest sports star in America. He has crossed over from sports into the mainstream. He’s talked about on Good Morning America and Today as much as he’s talked about on Sports Center. He’ll eventually end up on Letterman, Leno, Kimmel and (probably) Saturday Night Live.

So if he’s good enough for those outlets, he should be good enough for the NBA’s showcase game. Of course he hasn’t EARNED it. You usually have to play in all the games to become an All-Star. And perhaps he doesn’t deserve it as much as other players who didn’t make the roster (Atlanta’s Josh Smith comes to mind). But this isn’t about Smith. And it really isn’t about the other players in the NBA. This is about the fans. NBA fans were treated like trash during the lockout. And they’re getting the short end of the stick with this compressed 2012 schedule. There’s a lot of basketball every night, but most of it isn’t very good. Lin is the breakout story of this season and every fan deserves to see him playing with the game’s biggest stars in Orlando.

But more than that, this is about the non-basketball fans. The sport has lost a lot of fans over the past few years (especially during the lockout). This is a perfect opportunity to not only bring some fans back, but also to build a new fan base. The All-Star Game would post record ratings. The buzz would be off the charts. My wife couldn’t care less about the NBA, but I guarantee that she’d watch at least a minute or two of the All-Star Game if Lin was in there. This game is for the fans. The fans want Lin. Where’s the debate?

Well, apparently there is some debate. This morning on the Stoney and Bill show, I argued this point with Stoney and Tony Ortiz. They both felt that this violated some weird sanctity of the game (and if it sounds like I’m putting words into their mouths, I am). There IS no sanctity to the game. Quick – name the last All-Star moment you even remember. Anything? The last thing I remember is East coach Flip Saunders putting four Pistons (Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace) into the game at the same time in 2006. And the only reason I remember that is because we live in Detroit.

This game is dead. Lin would bring it back to life. And you know that he’d be voted into the game if the voting got redone over the next two weeks. He’d probably get more votes than Kobe, Lebron and D. Wade combined.

This may not be the fair thing to do. But it is the right thing to do. You’d watch. I’d watch. We’d all watch.

More from Jamie Samuelsen
  • Ivonete

    The Mavericks may have found the biggest speeler in the draft.I’m a big Jeremy Lin fan, and not just because he’s a future pastor/minister. At the 2010 Portsmouth Invitation (similar to the NFL’s pre-draft Senior Bowl) against future NBA draft picks, Jeremy Lin averaged 10 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 60% FG percentage. In 2008 in 7 games (some multiple) against Colorado, George Washington, UConn, and BC, he averaged 20 points, 5 rebs, 5 assists, and 3 steals, even though the other team was double or triple teaming him all game as the only good player for Harvard. In 2009 against UConn and BC twice he averaged 27 points, 5 rebs, 5 assists, and 3 steals, again while double or triple teamed. His entire life Jeremy Lin has constantly faced obstacles and discrimination (not to mention racial slurs) in the basketball world, because of his race. He was California’s basketball State Player of the Year after taking an unknown HS team to take the championship over powerhouse Mater Dei, yet was offered no Division-I basketball scholarship from any school. Harvard was the only school to give him a spot, and with no scholarship. I don’t think it ever happened before that a Player of the Year in a huge state like California, didn’t get any college scholarship offers to play. Then, at Harvard, all he did was break all sorts of conference records, put Harvard on the map without any other legit player on the team, and this year finished as a finalist for both the John Wooden and Bob Cousy Award, for best D-I college player and best D-I guard in the country. If his last name were different, he might have gotten a chance to start at a different college and become a 1st round pick. He is taller than Avery Bradley, and just as athletic if you look at his dunks, blocks, and steals playing against players who were picked in the draft.For those not familiar with him, here are some ESPN, Time Magazine, and Washington Post articles:time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1951044,00.htmlespn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=oneil_dana&id=4730385washingtontimes.com/news/2009/dec/23/hoyas-preparing-for-crimsons-do-everything-lin/To the poster Rex’: Jeremy Lin plays an extremely unselfish game and makes his team’s better, but you can’t blame him for those losses. His Harvard team had literally no other decent players, and basketball is a team game. Everyone saw how far Cornell went this year in the March Madness tournament (Sweet 16), with 3 legit NBA prospects. Against Cornell, Jeremy’s Harvard team was no match, but Jeremy had 24 points on 7 for 12 shooting. He was hardly shut down’ by Cornell, he simply had no help.

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