Few will ever forget the atmosphere inside the Air Canada Centre when Jeremy Lin hit one of the most memorable shots in ACC history last month. The buzzer-beating three-point heave represented the absolute peak of “Linsanity,” and it should be noted that without question, Lin brought a buzz to the arena that hadn’t been seen for a single player since Vince Carter made his many returns to Toronto.
While the hype surrounding Lin and the endless puns have slowly faded over the last five weeks, it seems Canadians, and specifically Torontonians, are still as awe-struck as ever over the Harvard alum. Maybe it’s the country’s and the city’s growing Asian population, perhaps it’s the genuine eternal Canadian love for an underdog story, but whatever it is, OMNI television is going to try to capitalize on it.
The Hollywood Reporter, of all outlets, alerted us to the fact that Omni Television is going to broadcast Lin’s return to Toronto when the Raptors host the Knicks this Friday night. And they’re going to broadcast it in Mandarin, with Weiping Zhang, a former Chinese national player who now calls games, providing the commentary.
The Hollywood Reporter post includes a statement from Omni’s National Vice President, Madeline Zinak, who says: “The level of enthusiasm for Jeremy Lin from the Chinese and Taiwanese communities has been extraordinary over the past month, and it’s clear that his Cinderella story and stellar performances are inspiring youth in these communities across Canada.”
CBC has done something similar in recent years with Punjabi broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada, but the difference here is that one player, not a television tradition like HNIC, has created the demand for such a venture in this case.
As has been stated many times, Lin is a restricted free agent at the end of this season, with the Knicks holding the right to match any offers for the upstart point guard. In recent RaptorBlog posts, fans seem to think $4 million-$5 million per year is fair for Raptors guard Jerryd Bayless. As you can tell by a quick statistical comparison of the two point men, while Bayless’ effective and true shooting percentages are higher, Lin definitely seems to be the more complete player across the board. If Bayless deserves $4 million-$5 million a year, and Lin is the better, more complete, and exponentially more marketable player, then how much is Jeremy going to command this off-season?
You’d still have to assume that the Knicks will lock him up before he becomes an official RFA, but I still wonder how large of an offer it would take from a team like the Raptors, or any team for that matter, to dissuade the Knicks from matching.