Jeremy Lin might have been an unknown benchwarmer a few weeks ago, but a Knicks fan dropped thousands of dollars Monday just to meet the breakout star.
Andrew Arnold, of Manhattan, had a winning bid of $5,700 in an auction that got him four tickets to Wednesday night’s game against the Sacramento Kings and a chance to chat with Lin, who was named Eastern Conference player of the week Monday.
“I just want to get the opportunity to meet him, and thank him for breathing some life back into the Knicks,” Arnold, 32, told amNewYork Monday after winning. “And hopefully, for a win Wednesday night.”
His was one of 17 bids on the auction, which was run by auction site Charitybuzz.com and the Garden of Dreams foundation, which helps kids who face illness and poverty, among other obstacles. The prize was valued at $1,200.
“As a fan, it’s been an extremely frustrating season,” said Arnold, who goes to five or six games each year and watched Lin out-duel the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. “It was one of the most exciting Knicks games that I’ve been to, probably in my life.”
Arnold said he’s bringing a friend who, like Lin, was born in Taiwan and raised in the U.S. Arnold said the two other tickets may go to their girlfriends.
Charitybuzz.com rushed to put together the auction last week after Lin’s explosive first start, CEO Coppy Holzman said. Since the auction earned so much money, a second begins today for a chance to meet Lin.
Holzman said he’s not worried that Lin’s rise will vanish as quickly as it came.
“He showed this weekend when he played against Kobe that he’s not a one-game phenomenon,” Holzman said. “He appears to be here to stay.”
Kristine Burton, of the Garden of Dreams, which gets 80% of the winning bid, said Monday’s auction wasn’t Lin’s first interaction with the foundation — he participated in an outing with 30 kids to visit the Rockefeller Center observation deck and dinner at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square shortly after joining the Knicks. “The kids had a great time,” she said.
Burton wasn’t surprised that Knicks fans were willing to part with so much money to meet Lin.
“It’s New York,” said Burton. “You play well, people love you.”
The Dolan family owns controlling interests in both Madison Square Garden and Cablevision. Cablevision owns amNY.