I saw it.
Jeremy Lin with his adorable Chihuahua, right there at the press conference. The dog wasn't peeking out of his gym bag (like Paris Hilton’s pampered pooch), but sitting proudly next to him wearing a sensible, non-diamond-studded collar. It wasn't looking pathetic; it wasn't shaking and wasn't wearing a sweater. Maybe that's why no one noticed.
By now everyone knows Jeremy Lin. Grandmas and grandpas are tossing out Linsanity references. The guy was on back-to-back covers of Sports Illustrated, something no other New York athlete has accomplished, and that includes Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Joe Namath, Derek Jeter and Eli Manning.
If you’ve been out of the country for three or four weeks, this is the story behind the hype.
Lin is among just a handful of Asian-Americans to play in the NBA. He has local ties (Palo Alto High School), went largely unnoticed at Harvard and undrafted out of college, yet found his way to our beloved but snake-bit local losers, the Warriors. They dumped him. The Dallas Mavericks had him on their summer league team for a short time, but they gave up on him too. His third team, the Knicks, were going to do the same, but had to play him since all their other guards were hurt. Since then, he’s been a scoring machine, making everyone look foolish, including opponents and organizations that passed on him.
A Lin-derella story.
And there he was, fielding questions from what seemed like 3,000 reporters, his faithful dog by his side. And if you look closely next time you watch one of his games, you may see his Chihuahua tattoo; it's a little one, on his forearm. The little guy is lifting his leg on a Warriors’ logo; Lin has a sense of humor, too.
We've been learning much about Jeremy Lin's upbringing and his high school days in Palo Alto. Reporters have found his old coaches, teachers, girlfriends and test scores, but none of them dug up the fact that he was named "Most Likely to Rescue an Animal" in his senior poll.
And when he granted an interview to a Bay Area reporter a few weeks back, just when Linsanity reached its peak, he only agreed to do this under one condition: that the reporter limit questions to his faith and his devotion to the Chihuahua breed. He gushed about the tiny breed, but of course, that didn’t make ESPN highlights.
When he suggested to the New York Knicks ownership that they consider changing the mascot from the much storied Knickerbockers to the Mighty Chihuahuas, well that put Chihuahua lovers over the moon.
And it got better.
Nike signed Lin to a huge shoe deal they predict will move more units, worldwide, than Michael Jordan did with Air Jordans. Nice touch with Lin demanding that $1 from every pair will benefit Chihuahuas awaiting homes in shelters and fund free spay/neuter surgeries to halt the current overpopulation.
Then, sadly, I woke up from this little daydream.
But all that would be pretty darn cool.