Published February 17, 2012
NEW YORK – One fan at Madison Square Garden spotted a guy in a Palo Alto High School jersey and asked, "Are you Lin's high school coach?"
Just about every part of the Jeremy Lin story is making news these days.
The green No. 20 in fact belonged to a fellow former Palo Alto player, who was tasked with transporting Lin's old No. 4 jersey cross-country so it could be worn Friday night by the New York Knicks' biggest celebrity fan: Spike Lee.
The latest twist in the Lin saga started earlier this week when his high school coach in California, Peter Diepenbrock, said in an interview with a New York radio station that he hoped to put a Vikings jersey on the director's back. Turns out Lee heard about it and had one of his representatives contact Diepenbrock about making it happen.
Diepenbrock isn't scheduled to make it to a Knicks game until Sunday, but another of his former players, Chris Bobel, was planning to get to New York on Friday. Bobel, four years older than Lin, actually has a connection to two Knicks: He was a walk-on at Stanford, where he played with Landry Fields. Along with wearing his No. 20 from Palo Alto, Bobel also brought a Cardinal jersey.
Bobel dropped Lin's jersey off with Lee's rep after arriving in New York but couldn't quite believe it would be worn. Standing a few rows up from the court about 40 minutes before the game, he was thrilled to hear Lee had been seen earlier sporting the top.
Later, Bobel was able to meet Lee.
"This is just the coolest thing ever," Bobel said.
Bobel, who coached the Palo Alto freshman team when Lin was an 11th grader, now works in sales for a Silicon Valley startup, Box.com. While Lin played for the hometown Golden State Warriors last season, it bothered Bobel that fans would go wild when the rookie from Harvard made a routine play.
During Friday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets, Bobel saw a very different scene: the Madison Square Garden crowd treating Lin as the biggest of stars as he tried to lead the Knicks to their eighth straight win.