Mike Bibby on Linsanity: 'He Was Killing Everybody'

An underdog's journey reshapes the basketball landscape.

by Nouman Rasool
Mike Bibby on Linsanity: 'He Was Killing Everybody'
© Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the dynamic world of the NBA, Mike Bibby's entry in 1998 marked the beginning of a memorable career. Yet, as time marches on, even the most passionate athletes can sense a shift in their fervor for the game. This was the reality Bibby faced during his concluding season with the New York Knicks in 2011, a period that not only tested his dedication to basketball but also set the stage for one of the sport's most astonishing phenomena: Linsanity.

Bibby, alongside Baron Davis, represented the veteran guard presence for the Knicks that season. However, age and injuries began to take their toll on the duo. "So you got my old self, you got Baron Davis's old self. We're the only two point guards you have.

He's hurt, I don't even want to play anymore," Bibby shared on the "Hoop Dreams" podcast, reflecting on the challenges they faced, including his own back injury during a game against Golden State.

Rise of Linsanity

As fate would have it, this scenario paved the way for Jeremy Lin's unexpected rise.

Lin, a third-string point guard, was claimed off waivers by the Knicks in late 2011. With low expectations and a brief stint in the D League with the Erie Bayhawks, Lin's prospects seemed dim until an injury to Davis necessitated his recall.

Knicks' coach Mike D’Antoni's decision to give Lin another opportunity would soon redefine his career and the NBA narrative. Lin's explosive performance on the court was nothing short of miraculous, quickly silencing critics and capturing the imagination of fans worldwide.

"He was killing everybody he went against," Bibby recalled, astounded by Lin's prowess and the historic nature of his games. Lin's journey underscored the importance of perseverance and hard work. Despite the skepticism surrounding Linsanity and the subsequent contract saga with the Knicks and Houston Rockets, Lin's dedication to improving his game and understanding team dynamics was evident.

His time with the Knicks, though brief, left an indelible mark on the league and showcased the unpredictable glory of sports. The narrative around Lin's departure from New York and the rumored discontent among teammates, including comments from Carmelo Anthony regarding Lin's contract offer from the Rockets, added layers of complexity to the Linsanity saga.

Yet, Lin remained focused on his career, largely oblivious to the rumors that swirled around him. Mike Bibby's reflections offer a unique glimpse into a pivotal moment in NBA history, highlighting the ephemeral nature of athletic prowess and the enduring spirit of those who defy expectations.

Linsanity, as Bibby witnessed, was not just a testament to Jeremy Lin's skill but a celebration of the unpredictable joy that sports can bring to players and fans alike.