HARLEM — After leading the Knicks to seven straight victories, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and becoming an international media sensation, hoops star Jeremy Lin is being asked to bring “Lin-sanity” to Harlem’s iconic Rucker Park.
That’s the dream of Greg Marius, CEO and founder of the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic, which has run the Rucker Tournament at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard since 1986.
This past summer, NBA all-star Kevin Durant became the latest player to add to the court’s legend by scoring an eye-popping 66 points during a game there.
The park has hosted so many National Basketball Association and streetball legends that Community Board 10 is considering requesting that the site be made a landmark.
“We definitely need him to come. He’s magic,” Marius said of Lin, who is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.
“There’s no color on the basketball court. If you can play on that court, you can play.”
After bouncing around the NBA and the developmental league, Lin landed at the end of the then-struggling Knicks’ bench before getting an opportunity to play earlier this month.
Since his emergence, the Knicks have won seven straight, including a victory over the Los
Angeles Lakers on Friday that saw the point guard score a career-high 38 points.
On Wednesday, he notched up 10 points and 13 assists to lead the Knicks to a 100-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
“If I were Nike, I might consider making a mold [of his foot] right now,” Marius said.
Knicks officials said it was too early to think about what Lin will be doing this summer because of the shortened NBA season and how in-demand the player has become. The newly minted star is not currently doing appearances.
“He’s hardly had time to sleep,” said Andrew Krusco of the Knicks’ community relations department.
Marius said he is in the very early stages of speaking with the Knicks about having the team help install a state-of-the art scoreboard at Rucker Park that will show videos and instant replay, as well providing basketball clinics.
This year’s Rucker Park basketball season will kick off June 2 with a celebrity game, and the full tournament season will begin on June 18 and run through Aug. 20.
Lin’s appearance at Rucker could also help solve the question of what his nickname should be, Marius said.
Up until now, there’s been a series of puns riffing on Lin’s last name, from the ubiquitous “Lin-sanity” to “Linderella.” Film director and longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee has even solicited nicknames for Lin using Twitter.
Rucker Park has been the place many a streetball legend and NBA superstar have earned their nicknames. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant got “Lord of the Rings” after his Rucker appearance, and the Charlotte Bobcats’ Kemba Walker, a Bronx native, is known as “E-Z Pass.”
Durant’s 66-point performance was so talked-about that they are still trying to come up with a worthy nickname for the Oklahoma Thunder star.
Hannibal, the announcer at Rucker Park who thinks up the nicknames, already has a few in mind for Lin, Marius said.
“Rush Hour,” the “Lin Factor” and “Chinese Connection” are just a few, he noted.
“He already has 1,000 nicknames, but we might have to change it,’ he said.
“It has to be a name that fits him perfect,” Marius said.
“But we don’t make up nicknames until you prove it live at Rucker Park,” he added.