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Gene Lyons considers the cultural impact of Jeremy Lin’s rapid rise in his column, “With Lin, Dial Down The Meter:”

About two weeks ago, my son asked me how a team with an imposing lineup like the New York Knicks could possibly have a losing record. “Because they have no point guard,” I said. They played like strangers. Either nobody wanted the ball or everybody did. Long intervals would pass without the Knicks putting up a decent shot—although being NBA players they often made enough bad ones to stay close.

Well, as the world knows, they have a point guard now. The feel-good story of Jeremy Lin, the underdog Chinese-American player from Harvard, has made NBA fans of millions who scarcely know the 24-second clock from a goaltending call. Here’s hoping they stick around, because it’s a heck of a show. Meanwhile, how about if we dialed down the ethnic sensitivity meter until the kid settles in?

As a lifelong basketball guy married to a coach’s daughter, I’m bewildered by people who say they the love college game but dislike the professionals. Around our house, the end of the NBA owner’s lockout was cause for celebration. It was going to be a long winter without “Da lig” as ESPN’s Hubie Brown pronounces it.

Does my sainted wife ever wish I didn’t watch a NBA game most nights? Absolutely. But I’d also bet you $20 she can name the Boston Celtics starting five. As for my sons, well freeloading off dad’s NBA Season Pass helps keep us together. Some families argue about politics and religion; we bicker about LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Anyway, from a strictly basketball perspective, what’s not to like about Jeremy Lin? The kid’s got a nice all-around game and an ideal point guard’s temperament; he’d sooner pass than shoot. He’s aggressive, but rarely forces plays that aren’t there. He’s got terrific court awareness and tactical smarts. He makes adjustments.

If Magic Johnson says Lin’s the real thing, that’s good enough for me. Magic’s always diplomatic, but he doesn’t lie.

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