Review: ‘Linsanity’ relives frenzy of N.Y. Knicks’ 2012 comeback

A still from "Linsanity."

It may not have been an “official” mental disorder, but a condition known as Linsanity broke out for a few crazy weeks in February 2012. That was when New York Knicks backup point guard Jeremy Lin — the second Asian American ever to play in the NBA — unexpectedly led his flailing team to a seven-game winning streak, earning him explosive international acclaim.

The events leading to this media-fueled frenzy and the genial, low-key underdog at its epicenter are given a peppy workout by director Evan Jackson Leong in the enjoyable documentary called, yes, “Linsanity.”

Leong tracks the Palo Alto-raised athlete from his basketball-centric childhood, high school and college days (he was a four-year player at Harvard), up through his spotty, challenging start in the NBA playing for the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and the Knicks. A plethora of Lin family home-video clips, riveting archival and Leong-shot footage of Lin tearing up the boards, TV news clips, interviews with Lin’s devoted brothers and Taiwan-born parents, plus chats with coaches, reporters and others help tell the icon’s remarkable story.

The perceived jealousies (yo, Kobe Bryant!) and lunkheaded, racially tinged jokes and jabs that accompanied Lin’s meteoric rise are also significantly recalled.


Through it all, the devoutly Christian Lin (“I only play for God”), now 25, kept his cool, stayed focused and eventually landed a three-year, $25-million contract with the Rockets. Still, the pro is humble enough to assert, “at the end of the day, basketball is just a game.” Amen.



MPAA rating: PG for some thematic elements and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. In English and Mandarin with English subtitles.

Playing: At AMC’s Atlantic Times Square 14, Monterey Park.