Jeremy Lin’s route from benchwarmer to All-Star weekend performer became clearer today with help from New York Knicks teammate Iman Shumpert.
After being chosen to compete in the National Basketball Association’s slam-dunk contest during All-Star weekend in Orlando, Florida, next week, Shumpert hinted that the inspiration for what the Knicks market as “Linsanity” may be coming along.
Lin will be enlisted to help Shumpert in the same way Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers took a pass out of a car sunroof from then-teammate Baron Davis in winning last year’s slam-dunk contest, ESPN said, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the situation.
Lin, an undrafted player out of college, will be able to assist Shumpert because he’ll be at the All-Star festivities to take part in the shooting skills competition, the New York Daily News said.
Lin, the former Harvard University guard who was cut by two other NBA teams, has become an international sensation in the past two weeks as he’s entered the Knicks’ starting lineup and led a seven-game Knicks winning streak.
This year’s slam-dunk contest is scheduled for Feb. 25, the night before the NBA’s All-Star Game. Shumpert will be joined by Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and another rookie, Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The winner will be chosen solely by fan balloting, with each competitor executing three dunks. Fans will be able to cast votes via Twitter and voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the slam-dunk contest was two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges to determine the two finalists.
Former Knicks guard Nate Robinson won the contest in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Lin has averaged 24.4 points during New York’s winning streak while making 51 percent of his shots.