WASHINGTON — Jeremy Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent, ranks among the most popular candidates for selection as TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2012, the magazine said Thursday.
Each year, the magazine invites its readers around the world to vote online for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that they think are the most influential people in the world for that particular year.
As of Thursday, Lin — the New York Knicks star point guard — had emerged as one of the top 10 vote-getters, with 72 percent of voters saying the 23-year-old basketball sensation “definitely” should be on the “TIME 100” most influential list.
In a brief introduction, the magazine recounts Lin’s meteoric rise from obscurity to stardom after leading the struggling Knicks to a seven-game winning streak in February.
“At the beginning of February, Lin was the benchwarmer from Harvard on a bad New York Knicks basketball team. By the end of the month, the Asian-American point guard was a global sensation who had scored 136 points in his first five starts, the most for any NBA player since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger,” Time says.
“Though Lin is no longer setting scoring records, he seems to have settled into the starting point-guard role under new Knicks coach Mike Woodson,” it adds.
Among the other candidates for the 2012 selection are U.S. President Barack Obama, Grammy Awards-winning British soul/pop singer Adele, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Official online voting ends April 6, and the poll winner will be featured in the TIME 100 issue. The complete TIME 100 list will be chosen by the magazine’s editors and revealed on the TIME.com website April 17.
Lin has missed the last two Knicks home games — a March 26 matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks and a game against Orlando Magic March 28 — due to an injury to his left knee. It remains unclear whether he will play in a March 30 road game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Although Linsanity — the media’s word for the hoopla surrounding Lin’s out-of-nowhere rise to prominence — has calmed somewhat, he remains No. 1 in the eyes of New York sports fans. This is evident in the result of a recent ESPN online poll in which Lin upset New York Yankees future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera to win the title of the Big Apple’s most beloved athlete.