That same Spring, on the opposite side of the country, a basketball revolution was brewing in Washington D.C. from the most unlikely of sources. George Mason's mens basketball team had put together an impressive season and was ready to prove that Cinderella had in fact returned.
The two stories are mutually exclusive, but the conjoining theme of the unwanted commidity rising from obscurity to achieve unthinkable success certainly draws a unique level of similarity between the two.
Whether you're talking Cinderalla or Linderalla, the unexpected emergence of Jeremy Lin certainly mirrors the magical run George Mason epic run to the Final Four in 2006.
George Mason was an unlikely selection to the NCAA tournament that year, losing two of their final four games and failing to win their conference championship, the Patriots quickly became the focus of much scrutiny and as an 11th seed were given no real shot at even winning a game never mind pulling off the most unlikely of Cinderella runs.
Lin's story follows a similar arc. After a stellar four-year career at Harvard, the 6-foot-3 asian-american point guard was passed over in the 2010 NBA Draft and forced to bounce around the NBA and even demoted to the NBA Developmental League before being given a legitimate shot to shine.
But, while so many similar talents would concede to the pressures of the media and the nearly insurmountable odds, both that George Mason team in 2006 and Lin today believed in themselves and were able to achieve something real and long lasting.
Turn on any television station, radio show or even scour your favorite webpage, Jeremy Lin is sure to be featured or at least referenced in some capacity. Linsanity has truly captivated the country and even spread internationally in some cases. This story of impossible success, overcoming even the biggest obstacles, is inspirational and offers motivation to those in doubt. That's why it is so damn near addicting to follow.
It may be six years in the past at this point, but George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four had the same sort of feel back then. Social Media may not have been quite as prevalent, so the passing of news wasn't nearly as universal or immediate, but Mason was surely the topic of conversation for a solid two weeks. It was the motivational feel-good Jeremy Lin story before Jeremy Lin even stepped foot onto Harvard's campus.
This type of improbable, against all odds, sports journey is a rather rare entity. It's not everyday that you find this same hype and excitement surrounding something that isn't a Blake Griffin dunk or a Duke-UNC buzzer beater. It's a rather refreshing feeling and offers a pure sense of motivation.
Sure, the difference between an entire team like Mason and a single player in Lin is quite a discrepancy to consider, but it's not who overcame the odds but how each unforgettable story came to be. Just like George Mason was unable to reach the peak of excellence as national champions back in 2006 (Florida), Lin may never reach the NBA mountain top either, whether it be an MVP award or even an All-Star appearance.
But, it's that improbable journey and insatiable desire to succeed that will far outlast any banners in the gym or trophies on the mantle place. Something that both that Mason team and Lin will own forever.