Earlier this week, I was lounging out on my couch while watching Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers play host to Lebron James and the Miami Heat on TNT, when a commercial featuring Jeremy Lin cruising in a Volvo caught my eye. Lin has received plenty of endorsements over the past year, but the stylish Volvo ad was a nice reminder of how incredibly marketable the Jeremy Lin brand has become.
No man in the history of time has arguably enjoyed a rags to riches story comparable to Jeremy Lin's previous 365 days. From the pages of an Erie BayHawks game notes packet, to the cover of Time magazine, Jeremy Lin has had an incredible ride.
Lin spent time in the NBA D-League before his single game heroics with the Erie BayHawks, in fact, Lin was a member of the Reno Bighorns, and assigned three different times to the team while he was a member of the Golden State Warriors. Even though Lin's time with the Bighorns paid off as he improved his game under the tutelage of Eric Musselman, it was his performance in Portland, Maine that installed Lin with a certain swagger, and confidence that would propel him back into the Association.
Erie Bayhawks 122, Maine Red Claws 113 (via nbadleague)
Using Lin's aforementioned triple-double performance as the tip-off to the events that would follow (Linsanity and beyond), the timeline below tracks one of the most impressive transformations that has ever taken place for any athlete in a year's time.
The 2012-2013 Jeremy Lin Timeline
January 20, 2012 - Jeremy Lin leads the Erie BayHawks in a road victory over the Maine Red Claws. Lin finishes with a triple-double; 28 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds.
Janauary 23, 2012 - The New York Knicks recall Lin.
February 4, 2012 - Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni inserts Lin into the lineup, and Lin outplays Deron Williams finishing with 25 points, 7 steals, and 2 steals in 36 minutes.
February 14, 2012 - Lin hits a game-winner on the road against the Toronto Raptors, and the crowd is noticeably intermixed with Linsanity supporters. Lin finishes with 27 points, and 11 assists. Lin scores the most points in 5 starts of any player since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger.
February 22, 2012 - Nike extends their contract with Lin
February 25-26, 2012 - Lin gets invited to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star weekend based on his sudden impressive play. Entering the weekend, Lin is averaging 22.5 points, and 8.7 assists and led the Knicks to a 9-3 record.
March 19, 2012 - Lin signs an endorsement deal with Volvo
March 31, 2012 - An announcement is made that Jeremy Lin will need knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. Lin's season is over.
May 9, 2012 - The New York Knicks season is officially over after losing 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat. After declaring himself "85 percent" healthy before Game 5 of the series, Lin did not suit up. Lin ends the season as a restricted free agent and rakes in a cool $788,000 on the year.
July 13, 2012 - Jeremy Lin signs an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets worth $25.1 million over three years, including $14.9 million in the final year. The Knicks are officially on the clock to match the offer and have three days to do so.
July 17, 2012 - Knicks officially decline to match Houston's offer for Lin. Lin officially leaves Broadway and heads to Houston, Rockets' GM Daryl Morey tweets "Welcome to Houston @JLin7. We plan to hang on this time. You will love #RedNation."
October 27, 2012 - James Harden is traded to the Houston Rockets, Lin likely celebrates in private.
November 2012 - GQ Magazine features Lin as their cover story for the November 2012 issue.
December 10, 2012 - Lin turns in a throwback Linsanity performance absent of fellow teammate James Harden. Lin scores 38 points, grabs 3 rebounds and dishes out 7 assists.
January 17, 2013 - I pause with a sip of Cabernet Sauvignon hovering above my palate, while distractedly browsing box scores during the Lakers vs. Heat game, and catch Jeremy Lin's latest Volvo commercial. The spot provokes an idea for a future post on RidiculousUpside.com
January 18, 2013 - Lin, despite a marginal season with the Houston Rockets, places third among Western Conference guards in the fan voting for the NBA All-Star game. Lin's international appeal still looms largely as proven by the fan voting results.