Hipsters have frequently worn jerseys of long retired NBA stars, particularly at music festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella, but Hipster Linsanity marks the fastest a player has fallen from the mainstream to become an ironic hipster icon.
"Normally I tend to wear stuff my grandfather wore, and pretend it's cool when really it's just old," said Arlo Jones, a 23-year-old screenwriter from Williamsburg. "But this Lin jersey is fringe and retro at the same time, which is the kind of countercultural statement my screenplay is totally going to make. But you wouldn't get it."
Lin is averaging just 16.6 points per game since the All-Star Break, leaving many retailers stuck with a surplus of Lin jerseys and Linsanity T-shirts ordered at the height of his popularity. That gear has found new life in Brooklyn boutiques, on racks next to $300 bowling shirts and distressed T-shirts of '90s pop culture icons.
"It's amazing," said Burt Gottfried, a manager at Modell's. "I thought I'd be stuck with boxes of this stuff, but some idiot in fake black glasses paid me double what I paid for all my Lin gear. Now I've just got to figure out a way to move all this Stoudemire crap."
If the Knicks continue to lose, Lin's ironic popularity could shoot through the roof. His jersey has already appeared on the cover of Pitchfork, being worn by the drummer of some band you probably wouldn't know. And self-proclaimed Linsters keep buying his jersey at prodigious rates.
"When I wear this jersey, it tells people I don't care about what the mainstream thinks is 'cool' or 'trendy'," Jones said. "Plus, the lettering goes really well with my orange skinny jeans."
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony jerseys continue to be popular among New York's homeless community, who've pulled the discarded jerseys out of many a New York dumpster.