Obama gives presidential salute to Knicks superstar Jeremy Lin
Yes "Lin" can!
Even President Barack Obama professed his admiration Wednesday for Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin, joining a growing number of high-profile names enamored with the point guard's winning ways and his underdog back story.
Obama, a hoops fan, "is very impressed and fully up to speed," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters. "It's just a great story ... The president was saying as much this morning."
Lin's meteoric ascension to "Sports Illustrated" cover boy this week perhaps even mirrors Obama's own rise from obscurity, said Ronn Torossian, the CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations.
"But the difference with Obama is that half the country or more isn't fond of him," Torossian said. "How can you root against Jeremy Lin? ... He is the boy next door who has made it in a bigger way than anybody could ever imagine."
Torossian praised the "humble manner" of the 23-year-old Californian who had been sleeping on his brother's couch on the Lower East Side.
A former Harvard standout who had survived on the margins of two NBA rosters after being passed over by all 30 teams in the 2010 draft, Lin was cut by two teams in December.
The Knicks, a two-superstar team whose Gotham-sized expectations were outpacing its results this season, claimed Lin off waivers on Dec. 27. Given meaningful playing time this month, Lin exploded with a half-dozen dazzling performances that reversed the Knicks' freefall in the standings entering Wednesday night's game against Sacramento.
"From the Ivy League, Chinese-American, the largest stage -- and he's been able to turn this team around," said Walt Frazier, Lin's legendary forbear as the Knicks' floor general in the 1970s. "Everyone has hopped on the story and it continues to get better and better."
New Yorkers from all walks of life seem to be swept up by the "Linsanity."
City Comptroller John Liu, the first Asian-American elected to a citywide office, said Lin -- born in Palo Alto, Calif., to Taiwanese parents -- smashes stereotypes.
"See, we're not just math nerds!" Liu said.
And the power of Lin's popularity has even consumed Super Bowl champs.
"Wow. I'm a fan kinda like all 13 yr old girls are Taylor Swift fans," tweeted Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck.
Some are surprised it took so long for Lin to showcase his abilities.
"Lin's got serious game, and it's unreal that he didn't receive any spotlight until now," said DJ Steve Porter, known for his music remixes of sports stars.
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What They're Saying About Lin
Ben Stiller @RedHourBen
“Linning streak continues … ”
Justin Tuck @JustinTuckNYG91
“I was just singing all we do is Lin in the shower. Wow. I’m a fan kinda like all 13 yr old girls are Taylor Swift fans.”
Spike Lee @SpikeLee
“Jeremy Lin-Point God For the New York Knickerbockers.”
Gabrielle Union @itsgabrielleu
“Jeremy Lin … WOW WOW WOW … if u ever thought about givin up on ur dreams … DON’T!”
Bill Maher @billmaher
“Vatican has been looking for that second miracle to make John Paul a saint … cld it be #Linsanity???”
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan
“I wish I was Jeremy Lin.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg @MikeBloomberg
“Congrats to @JLin7 on being named @NBA Player of the Week. Looking forward to more #LinSanity.”
(Compiled by Rachel Hawatmeh)