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In early February 2012, New York Knicks' backup point guard Jeremy Lin rose onto the national spotlight with an impressive performance averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 assists and 2.0 steals in his four career starts against the Utah Jazz (28 points, 8 assists), Washington Wizards (23 points, 10 assists), Los Angeles Lakers (38 points, seven assists) and Minnesota Timberwolves (20 points and seven assists).
His high-scoring streak quickly became a hot topic in the NBA fan communities, who dubbed the phenomenon #Linsanity, a pun on the Taiwanese American basketball player's family name. Twitter mentions of his name and the hashtag trended on Twitter peaked on the evening of February 10th, following the Knicks' unanticipated upset against the Los Angeles Lakers. Lin even outscored the Lakers' star point guard Kobe Bryant.
The hashtag #Linsanity also inspired numerous others, mostly featuring Lin-related puns, as well as spin-off Twitter accounts like @EveryLinPun, a single topic feed of Lin-related puns, and @Linterest, which publishes fictional updates of famous people’s “linboards” in a parody of the image-sharing social network Pinterest.
Many fans posted their own tribute images for Jeremy Lin, prominently featuring his image in classic photos in the basketball history and visual symbols of the New York Knicks.
The athlete's popularity also led to the birth of a photo fad known as Linning, named after his elaborate handshake with Landry Fields captured on camera during his debut match against the Utah Jazz. The news of his overnight stardom eventually reached the Chinese web, generating 1.4 million Chinese microblog messages mentioning his names, according to the New York Times' report on February 15th.
On February 7th, rapper Mega Ran posted a rap tribute video praising Jeremy Lin via YouTube. Two days later, rapper Jin also posted his own rap video titled "Nick of Time."