That was hardly insignificant. Neither was Wednesday night’s milestone against Portland: it was Lin’s first game in which he scored in single digits (6 points) in a win since he became a starter in early February.
The hyper-phenomenon known as Linsanity has quieted down in all sorts of ways, on the court and off. At Cosby’s sporting goods store, adjacent to the Garden, Lin T-shirt sales have gone from an average of 70 per day to only a handful as of last Friday.
“It’s crawling,” the store manager Jim Root said. Boxes filled with six variations of Lin T-shirts once lined the walls behind the counters, but they’ve been filtered out, some replaced by Rangers gear and early baseball merchandise.
“As long as they still make the T-shirts, we’ll continue to bring them in,” Root said of the Lin items. “They’re just now going to be coming in the same way other players were.”
At the Modell’s in Times Square, a front corner of the store remains almost solely dedicated to Lin shirts and jerseys. While demand remains solid, a store manager said, not as many customers are showing up as before.
“I guess the honeymoon has worn off a little bit,” said August Kuhling, the manager. “There are still a lot of people excited about him. The first few weeks obviously wasn’t going to last forever.”
Ira Mayer, editor of The Licensing Letter, which tracks trends in merchandising, considered the Lin craze a fad that will continue to generate interest but not at the extreme level it once achieved. Because Lin was such an out-of-nowhere sensation, Mayer said, it became fun for fans to get caught up in the publicity.
“We’ve hit a certain peak with it,” Mayer said. “It’s not going to disappear,” he added, although he said he based that assumption on the notion that Lin continues to have a key role on the team. And that is open to question in the wake of Wednesday’s coaching change on the Knicks, with Mike Woodson replacing Mike D’Antoni, who gave Lin his chance.
Lin’s jersey remains the top seller at the N.B.A. Store in Midtown Manhattan and on line at , according to Amanda Thorn, director of marketing communications for the league.
She said since early February, has shipped Lin merchandise to 24 countries outside the United States, the top four being Canada, Taiwan, Australia and China.
Indeed, at the N.B.A. Store on Thursday, Lin’s replica jersey hung in the front window and a table holding at least half a dozen versions of Lin T-shirts stood in the middle of the store.
Adidas, the N.B.A. official apparel supplier, still has yet to introduce its Swingman line of Lin jerseys, selling normally at around $90. Those are expected to hit stores in April. The replica ($59.99) and authentic line ($250) are currently on sale.
Other indications are that interest is waning. Stands near the checkout lines at multiple Duane Reades in Midtown this week held licensed Lin pennants, flags and bumper stickers but with yellow labels marking them down half price.
The Twitter topic #Linsanity has not trended nationally since Feb. 25, according to the web site Trendistic, which tracks such trends. There are still dozens of Twitter user names of some variation of “Linsanity,” and the Jeremy Lin fan page has 1.4 million subscribers.
Lin trading cards — one of which sold for $21,850 on eBay on Feb. 23 — have now flooded the market at more reasonable prices. Nike is still reportedly in the process of producing a Lin-themed shoe (Nike did not return a request for comment), and Lin is also said to be in negotiations to endorse Volvo cars in China.
“I think Lin will stay popular as long as he’s playing, period,” Root said. “He’s a solid player. He’s obviously not as good as five or six other point guards in the N.B.A., but he’s decent.”
On Wednesday night, Lin received the loudest ovation of any Knick introduced in the starting lineup, and at halftime the concourses had a large number of fans in Lin apparel.
But the buzz about the Knicks’ new point guard has certainly quieted. And if changes on the Knicks further diminish Lin’s playing time and on-court numbers, you could eventually have a T-shirt that reads “Lin-nostalgia.”