A minor subplot lost in the hoopla since Jeremy Lin saved the New York Knicks’ season and became the biggest story in sports—even bigger than when Jesus came down from the right hand of Heaven and led the Denver Broncos to an unlikely playoff berth—has to do with his roots.

Yes, Jeremy Lin is a Taiwanese-American, a fact that has been lost on only those who are blind, deaf and deliriously drunk—all at the same time. No other player can lay claim to this ethnicity in the NBA, and Lin’s background in this respect has received plenty of play because he doesn’t fit the league’s stereotype. The NBA is full of physical specimens (a.k.a. freaks) who are tall and long enough to scratch their knees standing up straight, while Lin looks, stature-wise, like every other guy who pounds the rock a little too much in a rec league. Yao Ming may have been the biggest thing (literally and figuratively) in the NBA for a time, but Lin is relatable in the way someone who is 7-foot-6 is anything but.

Lin’s also a Harvard graduate, another unique aspect to his r-sum-; one that only he enjoys in a profession where many of the workers leave college early or came straight from high school. He’s also a devout Christian. It’s the year of the Christian athlete, says the person who’s forgotten every victory speech since the beginning of sports.

But the item of note that has flown mostly under the radar is that the Bay Area finally has an NBA product that didn’t come from the East Bay. Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, J.R. Rider, Drew Gooden, Leon Powe—the list continues whether the alma mater is Skyline, El Cerrito or St. Joseph in Alameda.

But Lin, a Palo Alto High School grad, is the outlier. The South Bay and the peninsula rarely send top talent to premiere Division I programs, let alone to the NBA. Aside from a Rex Walters (Piedmont Hills) here or a Reggie Smith (Leland) there, the league has been absent of South Bay contributors for some time. And for the most part, college scouts view the Central Coast Section like jet-setting aristocrats who hardly notice the flyover states.

Lin is the best example of ballplayers overlooked in the South Bay. Leading his high school team to back-to-back state title appearances, and winning it all in his senior year (he might have won it his junior year if he hadn’t gotten hurt the day before the game), should have been proof enough.

But maybe this is the watershed moment that leads to the levee’s break. It’s possible Lin could soon be joined in the NBA by a pair of brothers from San Jose: Drew Gordon, who plays for the University of New Mexico after transferring from UCLA, and his younger sibling, Aaron, a junior at Archbishop Mitty who is ranked as the third best prospect in his class, according to ESPN.

Years from now, Lin’s rise to stardom—assuming he doesn’t flame out by the time this article goes to print—might be remembered for two things: making the New York Knicks relevant again, while also putting (South) Bay Area hoops back on the map.