Let's pretend, for a moment, that Golden State or Houston realized their good fortune in stumbling upon Jeremy Lin. In a streak of unparalleled excellence during his first string of NBA starts, he makes all the shots and sets all the records he has while with New York. But he's not in New York. He's in Texas or California, beyond the reach of the hype centers that are Los Angeles and New York.
Would he get this much attention? Would he be the sole focus of the NBA? Would ESPN (and Yahoo!, in fairness) devote vast chunks of its entire catalogue of programming to overlooked, yet overachieving rising star? Does the phenomenon known as Linsanity exist?
No. None of that happens. So please, quit pretending that media markets aren't inflating a great story that they would have otherwise cheerfully noted alongside the progress of young stars like Ricky Rubio.
Rather than shine a light on Houston or Golden State, giving either franchise a desperately needed moment in the sun, they would be cast as lovely sideshows with potential for something special. Lin would be inspiring, but not riding a tidal wave of hysteria.
Instead, the great media machine wins out. Now Golden State and Houston are sad specters in the doldrums of NBA existence, fools - FOOLS - for having let Lin slip away to the storied New York team that cannot believe its fortunes, lucking into playing the kid that will save their season (and their coach's job). All hail the Knicks, the narrative now says, the Knicks that are surely locks for the Eastern Conference semifinals (says very loud ESPN analyst!) and surely will only be briefly staying in eighth place in the conference before charging to the top four with the ease of Sherman in the South. But what if their superstar can't play alongside Lin?! Oh how unfortunate for them, to have this problem. Let's devote even more time to discussing the speculative emotions, mentalities and dynamic of two players that have known each other a couple weeks.
The narrative is out of control, and if you think New York has nothing to do with it, that it would be just as powerful without a massive media market push, you're wrong.
Would the story be just as great? Unquestionably. That doesn't mean it would be embraced the same way. It would not be Linsanity, or at the very least, not even close to this level of Linsanity. Linsanity would be a fun gimmick at the Toyota Center, and not far beyond. Maybe the parking lot.
Which is not to take away from what Lin has accomplished. It's staggering. It has tremendous implications both on basketball and cultural levels. And interest in him overseas would probably be just as strong.
The difference is saturation, exposure, time devoted. My friend Brett Koremenos, lead analyst at HoopSpeak, was irked and put it simply.
"If this happened in Charlotte (Or Golden State. Or Houston.), you wouldn't hear about it until the end of the week."
As in, the day before Lin would be winning NBA Player of the Week.
And it wouldn't come after asking Adrian Gonzalez and Danica Patrick what they think of Linsanity, in interviews completely unrelated to basketball in any way. (This totally happened earlier this week on SportsCenter, by the way.) There wouldn't be national, non-sports columnists writing about Lin's religious inspiration. We wouldn't be saying 'He Makes Us All a Little More Free to Dream', even though the sentiment wouldn't be any less salient.
The name on the front of Lin's jersey changes how big this story gets. Media power has turned the story into more than it would be somewhere else. Which isn't necessarily right or wrong, it just is. But denying that reality is absurd.
Max Thompson is the Senior Editor at ThePostGame. Follow him on Twitter: @maxthompson.
Popular Stories On ThePostGame:
-- Jeremy Lin: His Impact On Changing The Perception Of The Asian American Male
-- White Star, Black School: Landon Clement Is The Face Of Upstart North Carolina Central
-- End Game: Brain Trauma And The Future Of Youth Football In America
-- What Makes A Nightmare Sports Parent -- And What Makes A Great One