It's summertime, sports is slow, baseball is in the dog days. Nothing really exciting is going on unless your waiting on college football season to start. I got to thinking about a few things in the NBA this summer. The most talked about on this site and the NBA is Dwight Howard and Jeremy Lin. I'm here to tell you why Lin stays in New York. If your interested in knowing before tomorrow's deadline here's why.
If you took Godzilla, and shrunk him down into a 6'3 human baskeball player, that is what Jeremy Lin is to China right now. He is a national icon that has been passed a torch lit by Yao Ming. Yao was the first big name Asian born player and I ran across this article of him. My reasoning is that I'm trying to gauge what Yao's impact was on the NBA, the city of Houston, and to the Rockets franchise. If you'd like to read it, here is the link:
When talking about Lin everyone has mention the "poison pill" final year, or the fact that 4 players will be owed 80 million or so. The super luxury tax that not even James Dolan will be able to pay. Before we get into that, read that article in that link posted above. That article mentions the $2.3 billion dollars generated by Yao Ming's being an international star. It mentions the partnerships with the NBA that every Chinese company wanted to get, so they could get a piece of the Yao Ming action.
Jeremy Lin is in no way shape or form Yao Ming. But he has the potential to be bigger than him. Consider the facts. He is not blessed with a humongous 7'6 body, he's a 6'3 point guard. He was not a first pick in a draft. He was a free agent that was cut by multiple teams. He is in other words the "everyman" , the "regular guy". He represents to China the feel good story, just as he does to us. He did not have the silver spoon, golden carpet, and NBA pedigree, he made himself into a star overnight. Because of that, he has the potential to be a bigger cash cow, and a bigger star internationally than Yao Ming ever was. Add to that, he is playing in the media capital of the world.
Also consider this. NY has signed near 40 year old Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, and Jason Kidd. They did this while trading draft picks, and shipping off younger players. There is nothing about this team, especially this summer that has led me to believe they give a damn about worrying about the future. The salary cap, the aging players don't matter. New York is in a win now mentality. Not build for the future, not be financial responsible. Why in the world would they worry about a problem 2 years from now? I don't think they are.
The announcement we will all hear tomorrow is that Jeremy Lin has been retained by the NY Knicks. The hope will be that the Knicks can win now, and win big. The money generated from a full season of Jeremy Lin front lining this team internationally will be a hit. The revenue generated by keeping him will be in the hundreds of millions to the Knicks, to the players, and even to the NBA. The millions of dollars in luxury tax down the line will be pay for itself with the partnerships MSG will make with Asian companies trying to reserve tv rights, ad rights, product rights, endorsement rights to have their name posted under Walt Clyde Frazier's booth next to a picture of Lin ally ooping to Carmelo Anthony.
Don't make a mistake about sports. The Knicks are a business. They are a profitable company. All the way from MSG selling out, to the station getting ratings, to the Knicks players they pay. The money they make from keeping Lin will far outweigh the money they lose in luxury ttax.
Don't be surprised to see the new Yao Ming, the new main attraction dressing in the blue and orange when October rolls around. It's already written in someone's checkbook.