Jeremy Lin's success no surprise in Palo Alto

In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin reacts after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, in New York. Linsanity returns to the Big Apple showing no signs of letting up, one night after Jeremy Lin hit a winning last-second 3-pointer to give the Knicks their sixth straight victory. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

February 15, 2012 5:51:48 PM PST
The hottest ticket in sports right now is the Bay Area's own Jeremy Lin. They call him "Linsanity." Nationally, he seemed to come out of nowhere. From their perspective, that really is true, but it is not to those who knew him around the Bay.

Before Lin helped the Knicks win six straight games including one Tuesday night by hitting a dramatic three-point shot with a half-second to play, he was putting the ball through a net at Palo Alto High School. In his senior year, he led the team to a 32-1 record and a state championship title.

"I know he kind of came out of nowhere for the rest of the world. To us, it's no surprise," said administrative assistant Carolyn Benfield. "He was a star to us from the time he was a freshman."

As a Viking, Lin is part of the school's hall of fame. "Paly's" athletic director Earl Hansen says Lin's success is no accident. "Anytime he had extra time, he'd been in the gym working out or in the weight room working out. So, he didn't just basketball, shoot, he trained to be good," he said.

As good as he is on the court, Lin's rise to stardom is celebrated not just because he is a great athlete, but also because he is that sometimes rare hero in sports, a genuinely nice person. "We all liked him because of the way he talked to all the staff, teachers, very delightful guy," said campus supervisor Ernesto Cruz.

The pride spreads beyond the campus to the neighborhood where the 23-year-old Linsation grew up. Just about everywhere you look, there is a basketball hoop. "It's just phenomenal how he's not only piqued the interest of many Asian Americans, but, I would say, all races across the nation," neighbor Zack Hou told ABC7.

With every game, every play, Linsanity is growing and Lin's former neighbors are cheering from what they consider his home court. "My friends on Facebook are exploding and just supporting him, so I think it's great that he is getting his 15 minutes of fame. Hopefully it will be longer than that," neighbor Wesley Cheng said.

The price of seeing Jeremy Lin play in person is going up. After Tuesday night's game-winning three-pointer, the price of courtside seats jumped 100 percent overnight for Wednesday night's game.