Welcome to the Linternet.
After a 38-point outing to lead the New York Knicks over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, point guard Jeremy Lin has tightened the stranglehold he's had on the World Wide Web since his improbable surge to NBA stardom began just several days ago.
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His name and the hashtag #Linsanity have trended on Twitter multiple days in the past week. He has added more than 130,000 followers on the network over that time span as well, according to the stat-tracking website TwitterCounter.com. He's added about 40,000 of those followers just since outdueling Bryant on Friday, according to the site. He's even inspired spinoff accounts, such as the @Linterest page, which provides fictional updates of famous people's "linboards" in a parody of the white-hot social network Pinterest.
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How much has the digital hysteria exploded since Mashable first wrote about Lin earlier this week? On Friday night, the tech news website All Things D, which typically gives sports a wide berth, published a service piece titled, "Who Put Sports in My Twitter Again? The Jeremy Lin Explainer."
Lin has a number of things in common with Tim Tebow. Tebow, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, was the last professional athlete to take the Internet by storm, and inspired one especially viral meme last fall. Both he and Lin are devout Christians. Both are seen as model citizens who "play the right way" and offer a counterpoint to many of the boorish aspects of pro sports. Both are seen as heavy underdogs at the professional level.
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Lin was an un-recruited high school player in Palo Alto, California. After none of his dream schools offered a scholarship, he played four years at Harvard University, leading the fabled academic institution to new heights on the hardwood. He went un-drafted out of Harvard but made the Golden State Warriors as a free agent, becoming the NBA's first Asian-American player since 1947, then bounced around some more before the Knicks picked him up.
Indeed, Lin's status as the rare Asian-American NBA player has contributed to his popularity on social media -- but led to some ugly moments as well. Lin's Chinese name, Lin Shuhao, was among Monday’s most-searched terms on Sina Weibo, a Chinese service similar to Twitter, according to The Wall Street Journal. Then, on Friday night, scores of people called for Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock to be fired after he posted this tweet.
What do you think of #Linsanity so far? How long do you think it will last? Let us know in the comments.
Spike Lee couldn't help talking some trash to Kobe Bryant after Lin torched the Lakers for 38 points on Friday night.
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Lin's Facebook Page
This story originally published on Mashable here.