New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin hired agent Jim Tanner of the Washington law firm Williams & Connolly to represent him in basketball and marketing matters, two people familiar with the situation said. Roger Montgomery, Lin’s current agent, will work with Tanner on the former Harvard University player’s free agency, said the people, who yesterday asked not to be identified because the agreement isn’t complete.
Tanner’s clients include San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, Miami Heat forward Shane Battier and Grant Hill of the Phoenix Suns, whose president of basketball operations, Lon Babby, was a Williams & Connolly attorney and player agent before joining the National Basketball Association team.
The move comes at an important time for Lin, whose emergence this season could lead to increased endorsements. The 23-year-old, the first Chinese- or Taiwanese-American to play in the NBA, is a restricted free agent.
Lin, who went undrafted, was cut by his first two NBA teams before signing with the Knicks on Dec. 27. He invigorated the team after joining the starting lineup on Feb. 6, fueling sales of merchandise and tickets, driving television ratings and helping the team’s parent company, Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG), to end a seven-week stalemate with Time Warner Cable Inc. that kept the provider’s 2.8 million subscribers in the New York area from seeing the Knicks.
Ticket prices to games at Madison Square Garden tripled as fans got caught up in “Linsanity,” a phrase coined to encompass the excitement surrounding the player. Lin has filed a trademark application for the term with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Coca-Cola Co. (KO) added courtside advertisements in Chinese at MSG to capitalize on Lin’s appeal.