For a team trapped in the throes of a disastrous 4-7 start and stuck near the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings, Jeremy Lin, without question, has the Brooklyn Nets’ fortunes on the rise.
Word is the Nets have recently signed as many as six new commercial partners with the prospect of doing business with Lin, being the biggest common denominator in the high-stakes negotiating.
Far and away, Lin’s jersey ranks as the team’s biggest seller, and is likewise thought to remain among the NBA’s most popular after it finished second across the entire league in sales in 2015.
All Lin’s early heavy lifting has come with him essentially having just one good leg to stand on, as he’s missed six of the team’s first 11 games with a hamstring injury.
Still, there’s no denying that Lin’s presence has been felt in the way the new-look Nets are so clearly growing accustomed to handling their business.
“Fans seem to be very accepting, and not only accepting but are encouraged by the new culture, the grit with which the team plays and the hustle,” Brett Yormack, the CEO of Sports & Entertainment recently marveled. “They see the vision, see where this thing is going, and they’re happy with that direction.”
The first American of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to ever suit up in the NBA, Lin absolutely has been turning heads in Brooklyn, where average attendance at the Barclay Center is noticeably up over last season, and ratings on the team’s YES TV Network are soaring by at least 44 percent over the last 12 months.
Not so uncoincidentally, Lin also ranks among the league’s top-tier players in social-media impact, boasting more than 2 million Twitter followers and registering an obscene number of Facebook likes. As a team, the Nets saw their Twitter engagement jump by more than 150 percent, compared to the same point last year, and their Facebook profile engagement is up by 86 percent.
Believe it or not, the biggest issue for the Nets could soon prove to be Lin wanting to do too much too fast.
He is rumored to be chomping at the bit about the prospect of returning to the Nets’ lineup sooner rather than later, particularly after being forced to miss recent games against such former teams as the Knicks and Hornets especially proving disheartening for him.
Lin went down in the Nets 109-91 victory over the Pistons on Nov. 2, and initial estimates were that he would be sidelined for anywhere up to several weeks.
In the six games that he’s played, Lin ranked third on the team in scoring (15 ppg), and led in assists (6.2), but numbers alone can’t account for what he’s meant to the equation.
His frustration is reported to have raised to a boil after the Nets’ recent loss to the rebuilding Lakers. Almost from the day he went down, Lin started running and sprinting to keep himself in shape for the day he could walk back on the hardwood and return to competing.
“It’s not always easy to know what is a good timeline,” Lin recently weighed in. “They (the team doctors) really haven’t said anything other than to keep rehabbing, and in two weeks, we’ll see how you feel and go from there.”
Whatever the time table for Lin’s return is officially, it can’t come soon enough for the Nets and their drive to right the path they seem to have charted for themselves with Lin at the center position.
[Featured Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]