NBA star Jeremy Lin’s improbable rise has been exposed as an utter furphy, with reports that the Harvard-educated, Taiwanese-American is in fact neither of those two things.
The Public Apology can confirm that Lin is in fact a 24-year-old African-American from Atlanta named Tyrone Williams, who was recruited by the NBA to provide a “feel-good human interest story” in the sorry aftermath of the lockout. Hollywood makeup artists have been working around the clock over the past month to transform high-school dropout Williams into a global marketing sensation worth billions in corporate sponsorship.
Speculation over Lin’s real identity only arose during All-Star weekend, when the point-guard slipped into Ebonics in answering a question from ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott.
NBA Commissioner David Stern, who masterminded ‘Linsanity’, told The Public Apology that he’d ordered his talent scouts to “go find some poor black kid playing pick-up ball and promise him the world.”
“This young kid walked into my office just after Christmas last year, and I just knew instantly that we had our solution to all the shit publicity we’ve had over the past six months,” he said.
“I asked him if he wanted to play in the NBA. He said’ hell yeah, whatever it takes, baby!’ So I moved quickly to leverage that desperation. I pulled out a wad of cash – because, you know, I’m a rich motherfucker – and said, ‘you want some of this?’ His eyes lit up like a row of poker machines.”
At the behest of Stern, Williams was promptly put on a plane to New York and given a crash course in macro-economics and Taiwanese. Respected Harvard professors were bribed to say they had taught the “economics prodigy;” likewise his fictitious ‘classmates’, who were told to emphasise how brilliant Lin was when questioned by journalists.
Lin’s back-story goes that he was waived by the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors before his unlikely ascent at the Knicks. However, that player was in fact a little-known Vietnamese-American player named Alvin Ng, who was brought over by Stern three years ago in an ambitious two-fold play: to cash in on the lucrative Asian dollar and to hopefully restore Viet-American relations, which have remained frosty ever since the Vietnam War.
“Sure, it didn’t work, but that’s only because Alvin had no handle,” Stern explained. “I realised that if I really wanted to penetrate Asia I’d need to think outside the box.”
When asked what would become of Lin now the jig was up, Stern said the story was “a metaphor for life” and as such, transcended the actual truth.
“I’ve gotta say, I’m a bit surprised it took so long for everyone to figure out he wasn’t a Harvard-educated Asian. Have you seen how well he gets on with Amar’e [Stoudemire] and Landry [Fields]? You don’t learn how to chest-pump at Harvard.”
UNEXPECTED BUSINESS ACUMEN: But despite the minor hurdle, it appears that Williams is prospering under his new sobriquet. In an unlikely display of business acumen, it emerged recently that the 24-year-old had moved to trademark ‘Linsanity’, filing an application through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
If successful, it would land him exclusive rights to slap the name on more than 50 consumer products, ranging from action figures to a wide range of condoms – and make even more money. All the more remarkable (and ironic) is the fact that Williams had never taken an economics class before landing an NBA contract.
While the story of a Harvard-educated, Taiwanese-American making it in the NBA has scored headlines around the world and offered a humble, human-interest slant to a mostly ridiculous competition, the real focus should be on the young man from Atlanta.
Despite his impoverished background, broken home and lack of Mandarin/Taiwanese-Hokkien skills, Williams has captured the attention of the world and reinvigorated the struggling New York Knicks. And he’s making a mint in the process.
By Dave Edwards