The American Dream is Alive and Well…At Madison Square Garden

With his unexpected ascent from the total obscurity of his brothers couch to starting Knicks point guard — having been cut by the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, and relegated to the NBA‘s Development League– Jeremy Lin is more than just another rags-to-riches story.

Indeed, the 23-year-old Taiwanese-American Knicks point guard — who literally outplayed Kobe Bryant, leading the Knicks to five straight victories —  is the quintessential underdog hero and his story represents the fundamental embodiment of the American Dream.

He is living proof that if you work hard you can be a star.   That you can come out of nowhere and make it.  That society is open, if you just give it half a chance you can get ahead.

These themes resonate significantly at a time when income inequality is the greatest it has ever been, and many Americans are losing faith in the notion that if you work hard and play by the rules you will achieve the American Dream.

Unlike Lin’s hero and fellow devout Christian who rose to national stardom this year — Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow– Lin was not groomed for professional basketball stardom at a NCAA powerhouse.

Indeed, Lin didn’t have single athletic scholarship offer out of high school, and was turned down by UCLA, his dream college. And he is one of four players in the entire history of the NBA to have graduated from Harvard –one of only two teams to offer him a place on the squad.

Thus, it is not surprising that at a time when the whole notion of a scholar-athlete is largely extinct, Lin’s story is so compelling – and has captivated not just New York, but the entire world.