Linsanity has swept New York City. This much we know. What's harder to fathom is the origin of the term "Linsanity." The big-city tabloids would have you believe their headline writers invented the portmanteau during the last fortnight. Incorrect! The term dates to an earlier era: July 17, 2010. That's when Andrew Slayton anonymously registered a Jeremy Lin-themed site that shall not be named (or linked to) here.
Slayton was once a high school coach for Pinewood School, which is just down the road from Palo Alto High School, where Lin used to play and led his team to a California state championship in 2006. Slayton was friends with Lin's coach and liked to hang out at practices and games and "help out." At some point after Lin became a star at Harvard (and about a decade after the term "Vinsanity" was coined for Vince Carter), "Linsanity" popped into Slayton's head. The website that shall not be named soon followed.
The site has been up for about a week, but it really kicked into gear this morning, selling $16 t-shirts with slogans such as "Linsanity," "Lin Your Face," "LIN.Y.C.," and "Pure MSG." Not coincidentally, we received a tip this morning from a fellow named Keith Bielory, who bills himself as a "sports marketing expert." Bielory currently works as a sales marketing analyst for NBC Sports. Here's what he told us:
I wanted to share this cool Lin story with you.. Jeremy Lin's HS coach at Paolo Alto knew that Lin would blow up like this one day, and bought the URL [redacted] years ago.
Now he is selling great Jeremy Lin shirts to support his old player. Its pretty cool.
It's especially cool if you're working with the guy selling the shirts, which Bielory is and failed to reveal until questioned further. Really? Can anything pure and decent and beautiful happen in this country without someone trying to profit from it?
I called Slayton to find out more. He wasn't a bad guy. He's a writer, a P.E. teacher, and an enthusiast of four square (the ball game). He worked for almost two years as the head varsity coach for the Palo Alto High School basketball team after Lin graduated. He might also be Lin's biggest fan. Slayton calls the point guard a "special player" with an "ability to win." His Lin site, he said, is both an homage and a "creative outlet" (although customers are most welcome).
"I'm getting my writing out there via the shirts," Slayton said. "I'm enjoying this as much whether I make money off it or not. If make money, it'll be awesome, and if I don't, hey, I created some fun stuff that my friends really dig."
Lin knows nothing about the site that shall not be named, according to Slayton: "I don't talk to Jeremy really at all. I haven't seen him much since high school, since he went off to Harvard."
The last time the two spoke was at a Warriors game. "I sat in his car with another coach for a short time," Slayton said.
Thus are empires founded. I do not mock. One need only heed Slayton's concluding words: "Yao is gone. Jeremy is there. China is dying for a star like him."