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Jeremy Lin Jerseys a Slam Dunk at Madison Square Garden

By Tuan Nguyen | February 10, 2012 1:13pm
Jose Rivera buys the jersey as a surprise present for his 14-year-old son.
Jose Rivera buys the jersey as a surprise present for his 14-year-old son.
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DNAinfo/Tuan Nguyen

HELL'S KITCHEN — The wait is over — Jeremy Lin jerseys finally became available at Madison Square Garden Friday morning.

Dozens of No. 17s officially went on sale at the Knicks store. They immediately started flying off the racks.

"I just woke up and ran right over here when [I found out] that the jerseys were available,” said Allen Yu, 28, the first person to buy a jersey at the store.

“I watch sports, but I was never a crazy fan. I've never bought a jersey.”

The Lin jerseys had gone on sale for $54.95 — pricier than those of  superstars Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire — on the Knicks website on Thursday.

“They have it online but I wanted to get it faster by coming [in] here,” Yu, an Internet entrepreneur, added.

Minutes later, Yu called his twin brother to tell him the good news.

“Man, I beat the line,” Yu boasted. “I got three jerseys.” 

A Knicks representative said they made about 200 Lin jerseys on-site at Madison Square Garden in advance of Friday's game against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The jerseys will be available at local stores within two weeks.

Jose Rivera, an attorney who works on Seventh Avenue, was among scores of Knicks fans who apparently couldn't wait that long. He said he had been checking on the jerseys since 7:30 a.m.

"I was surprised that they didn't have the jerseys yet and only found out [Friday] that it's really scarce on the market," Rivera, 43, said. "I tried to be here to be the first in line.

“I just want a surprise present for my son. He really likes him,” Rivera added. “He’s a beast now,” he said about Lin.

Lin has caught the NBA by storm in his first week as a starter. He led the Knicks to three straight wins, outplaying some of the league's top guards in the process.

The highlight of the week came Wednesday night when Lin crossed-over Washington Wizards guard John Wall and finished the move with a rim-rattling dunk.

The Harvard graduate has scored 25 points against the New Jersey Nets, 28 points versus the Utah Jazz, and 23 points in the win against Washington.

The Knicks face Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden Friday night.

Lin fever has caught on with basketball fans across the city. On Friday, a staffer in Madison Square Garden's Knicks store said the Lin jersey was the only one selling.

“I’m caught with the Linsanity,” said Gary Ottomanelli, 39, a financial expert.

“No one knew he was coming. He’s the biggest rising star now.”

Michelle Wang, 25, said she’s proud of Lin, the first American of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA.

"People keep calling him Chinese but he's actually Taiwanese," said Wang, who was buying a jersey for her boyfriend. "“He’s really the representative of the Asian-American.

"Lin was really born and grew up here.”