By Daniel Friedman
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We’re all suckers for the Cinderella story. The underdog, the unknown athlete who comes out of nowhere and rises to the occasion.
We’ve seen it happen plenty of times here in New York, and we’re even seeing it happen right now.
Here are five formerly anonymous players who took us for a ride:
5. Langston Galloway, Knicks
In what has otherwise been a dismal season for the Knickerbockers, Galloway has arrived from the D-League and been fantastic. He’s among the top five rookies in points-per-game this season.
4. Cam Talbot, Rangers
No Henrik Lundqvist? No problem. The Blueshirts haven’t missed a beat since Talbot took over for the injured superstar. We already knew he was a quality goaltender, but I think we know he’s even better than that now. This guy went undrafted, by the way.
3. Wade Dubielewicz, Islanders
The 2007 Isles were in trouble. Rick DiPietro got hurt and the team found themselves just on the outside of the playoff bubble; “Dubie” came out of nowhere and helped them achieve the improbable. He eventually turned back into a pumpkin, but his place in the hearts of Islanders fans is firmly cemented.
2. Shane Spencer, Yankees
He was called up in September of 1998, and all he did was hit, hit, hit. The Yanks went 11-3 with him in the lineup the rest of the regular season, and their playoff run ended quite well, too. Spencer was a big part of it all, with multiple big hits in the ALDS — including his first ever postseason at-bat.
1. Jeremy Lin, Knicks
I’m not sure this city will ever fall in love with a player again as quickly as they did with Lin. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was rooting for this kid — his backstory was incredible and his play on the court was equally inspiring. Unfortunately for the Knicks, “Linsanity” spiked his value so high, they couldn’t afford to keep him. He ended up signing in Houston during the offseason.