Even 16-time Grand Slam tennis champion Roger Federer says he has been inspired by the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin.
Federer, who like Lin has an endorsement deal with Nike Inc. (NKE), said today that he would like to meet the 23-year-old point guard. Undrafted out of Harvard University and cut by two National Basketball Association teams, Lin has led the Knicks to a 8-2 record since becoming a starter on Feb. 6 against the Utah Jazz.
“That he was able to help the Knicks come through in the way he did is a great thing,” Federer, 30, said today on a conference call promoting a March 5 tennis exhibition at Madison Square Garden, which also is the Knicks’ home arena. “I hope to meet him when I come to New York.”
Lin has averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 10 games as a starter. An unidentified person in the New York area paid $42,388 in a charity auction for a package that included a game-worn Lin jersey, Knicks tickets and a chance to meet the player, whose presence has raised ticket prices as much as three times their value prior to his emergence.
“I think it’s quite an incredible story,” Federer said. “I hope he can come to the exhibition, I think it would be great.”
Federer will play Andy Roddick in the March 5 appearance. The Knicks have four road games that week, including March 4 against the Boston Celtics and March 6 at the defending-champion Dallas Mavericks.
Ranked No. 3 on the ATP World Tour, Federer held the world’s top ranking for a record 237 consecutive weeks from 2004 to 2008. Federer said Lin’s story is “why we all follow sports.”
“All of a sudden someone breaks through that you didn’t know or didn’t expect and you didn’t know the result was going to happen,” Federer said.
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