Thanks to tweets from 24 Hour Fitness CEO Carl Liebert and 24 Hour CMO Tony Wells, we now know that one of the company's clubs and trainers has a direct link to NBA sensation Jeremy Lin.
In case you haven't heard Lin's story, he was a standout high school basketball player in California, but the Palo Alto native did not receive a single Division I college scholarship offer, opting instead to play at Harvard, which does not offer basketball scholarships. Lin became an undrafted free agent in the NBA, seeing limited time for his hometown Golden State Warriors, who cut him earlier this season. The Houston Rockets then signed Lin and shortly thereafter, they cut him, too.
Finally, the New York Knicks took a flyer on Lin, and after numerous injuries to the Knicks' guards, Lin got his chance. To say the point guard has made the most of it is a complete understatement. In his last six games, Lin has averaged 26.8 points and 8.5 assists, and no player since the 1976 NBA-ABA merger has scored more points in his first five starts than Lin (136). He topped off his remarkable run Tuesday night by hitting the game-winning three-pointer against the Toronto Raptors, leading the Knicks to their sixth straight win.
Hours before the game, Liebert and Wells tweeted this story on CBSSports.com, written by Ken Berger, who interviewed 24 Hour trainer E.J. Costello, Lin's personal trainer this off-season. Let's let Berger and Costello tell the rest:
"If Lin hadn't stayed ready during the lockout, working for hours each day from May through September with trainer E.J. Costello at a 24 Hour Fitness in Pleasanton, Calif., about 30 minutes from Palo Alto, he might not have been ready," Berger wrote. "Lin was doing rehab for knee tendinitis and developing upper body strength and core balance while hoisting hundreds of jump shots a day as some NBA players were sitting around thinking the lockout might never end."
"We couldn't control that he wasn't getting a fair look or opportunity," Costello, who also trained Warriors players David Lee and Ekpe Udoh during the lockout, told Berger. "But we could control that when he does or if he does, he would be ready for it."
In his tweet on Tuesday, Liebert wrote: "So Proud - 24Hour Fitness Trainer-EJ Costello! Glad he could help a member (Jeremy Lin) achieve his dreams." Then Liebert added the hashtag "#Linsanity."
Wells added this tweet: "Great a 24HF trainer & brand could play a role in Jeremy Lin's story. Stories like this play out everyday in our clubs."
The Linsanity moniker has dominated New York newspaper headlines, the Knicks' website and social media. Perhaps 24 Hour can find a way to get in on the marketing fun, too, especially since its San Ramon, CA, headquarters are close to Lin's hometown.
Better act fast, Carl and Tony. He's already on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Linsanity is raging out of control.