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Linsanity sweeps America

Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against the Washington Wizards during the first half at Verizon Center on Feb. 8, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Lin's newfound popularity has boosted business for basketball.

Kai Ryssdal: The basketball world has been abuzz this past week with what has come to be called "Linsanity." The New York basketball world, in particular. Jeremy Lin is the overnight sensation of the New York Knicks and the NBA. Since coming off the bench six games ago, he's been so hot even fans from opposing teams are cheering for him -- and buying his jerseys. Which is actually a problem for a guy nobody'd every heard of this time last week.

Marketplace's Sally Herships has more.


Sally Herships: A couple of weeks ago, Jeremy Lin was sleeping on a friend's couch. He’d been benched by the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors and his current team, the New York Knicks. Then some of his teammates got injured. Lin got his chance and made plays like this.

TV Announcer: Five, four, three -- Lin for the win!

Last night, the Knicks were tied with the Toronto Raptors when Lin sunk a three-pointer to win the game. Welcome to the Linsanity.

Niguel Murray works at Modell’s Sporting Goods in midtown Manhattan. He says when his shipment of Lin jerseys came in they sold out in the first hour.

Niguel Murray: Everything was gone. You know, T-shirts came in -- were gone. Jerseys came in -- they were gone. Kids' stuff -- people were trying on the kids' stuff and were just buying it right on the spot. It was gone.

The NBA says Jeremy Lin jerseys are still sold out.

Chris Lencheski: Sports in general are emotive. Everyone loves an underdog, as well as even more so than that a humble underdog.

Chris Lencheski runs Front Row Marketing.

Lencheski: You’re looking at a underdog story of huge proportions -- beyond the fact that he’s the first Chinese-descent, American-born player in the NBA.

The Knicks say Jeremy Lin’s name is the number one searched for term on Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google.

Patrick Rishe is a sports economist at Webster University in St. Louis. He says the Knicks’ television network, MSG, has seen a boost in its stock since Lin started playing 10 days ago.

Patrick Rishe: And MSG networks has seen its ratings increase by 70 percent since his star has begun to shine.

The NBA says, outside of New York, ticket sales at arenas where Lin is playing are up 17 percent.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.
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