The world, in case you hadn’t noticed, has gone nuts for New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. He finally started a game Wednesday during which he didn’t score 20 or more points. Instead, he provided 10 points and a season-high 13 assists in the team’s seventh straight win.
Now Nike is planning to give the people what they want: to be #Linning too. According to ESPN Radio’s blog, the shoe manufacturer is “set to release the Nike Hyperfuse 2011 Linsanity PE,” a shoe that features New York Knick’s iconic orange and blue with ‘Lin’ written in script, “sweeping across the side of the heel” — they even got a sneak peek, as you can see from their photo above.[more]
Lin’s new shoe isn’t likely to supplant the Air Jordan in Nike history, of course, but it’s hard to imagine what will happen if Lin keeps leading the Knicks to consecutive victories — and after the inevitable end to the hot streak.
As for the Jordan brand, 78 pairs of what appeared to be Nike Air Jordans were confiscated in Georgia this past weekend from a car driven by two South Carolina women, the Associated Press, because they are believed to be counterfeit.
One of the telltale signs, AP notes, is that the Jordan logo has the man himself with six fingers rather than the standard five. (So that’s how he broke all those records!) Plus, police were able to “peel the Nike logos right off” the shoes. Maybe that’s to add to the feeling of weightlessness?
Meanwhile, Lin’s brand keeps getting larger, and not just in the U.S.
Lin — who is the first American-born player in the NBA of Chinese or Taiwanese descent — now has more than 350,000 Twitter followers and, on the Chinese version, 750,000, according to the New Yorker. The publication notes that “last week, Lin rocketed to the number-one most searched item on Baidu, the Chinese search engine.”
None of that is helping Lin’s fan base in New York City’s Chinatown, where most of the area’s residents haven’t been able to watch Lin play due to a dispute between Time Warner Cable and the MSG Network, which airs the games.
In order to make nice with the community, MSG hosted a dim sum viewing party there “to explain their side of the dispute” at a place that could actually show the game before tipoff Wednesday night. The New York Times sent a reporter, who observed that that not much progress was made, but a lot of people got to see Lin play who couldn’t have done so if they had stayed at home. “The 100 or so fans who were admitted on a first-come first-served basis received ‘Just Lin Baby’ T- shirts and raffle tickets for Knicks tickets and a single sneaker signed by Lin,” the Times commented.
And even though MSG was helping itself with the community of Chinatown with the event, it also may have shot itself majorly in the foot at the end of the game when someone made the decision to run an unfortunate graphic that featured Lin’s head popping out of a fortune cookie with the word’s “The Knicks Good Fortune” printed on the cookie’s thin strip of paper below. According to Yahoo! Sports’ ThePostgame.com, this did not go over well on Twitter, with one calling it “a tad on the racist side” and another saying it was “accidental racism.”
Either way, it’s not exactly how you’d want your brand identified.