Then, he made his way into the game and suddenly, things changed. The team had new life. They got on a roll and when the dust settled, we were all left wondering what had happened and whether it could ever continue.
Who does that describe better — Jeremy Lin or Tom Brady?
If you think about it, there's a lot of similarities in how the two burst onto the scene. Both came into their respective leagues as afterthoughts. Both inspired teams stumbling through a season and in need of a spark. Both got fans thinking that maybe they were seeing the beginning of something special.
Who could have known the 199th pick in the NFL Draft would turn into a Hall of Fame quarterback? Who would have thought an undrafted point guard from Harvard could take over the NBA?
The similarities between Brady's sudden rise and Lin's are uncanny, right down to the worries about how an injured teammate (Drew Bledsoe/Carmelo Anthony) would fit into the new team dynamic created in their absence.
But while Brady proved he had they staying power to continue competing for championships year in and year out, it's unclear if the Knicks keep winning and Lin can continue to produce at his insane rate.
And yet, does it matter? Lin is already in the running for the best story in sports this year — which alone is worth something for a sport still recovering from an ugly and seemingly unnecessary lockout barely in the rearview mirror.
Maybe Lin won't grow up to marry a supermodel and won't have (at least) three rings to hang his hat on at the end of the day. But there's always that chance, and we could be seeing another rise to prominence that New England fans lived through with Brady all those years ago.