Plans are in the works for Manny Pacquiao and Jeremy Lin to meet up Wednesday in New York— a day before the boxer's press conference to announce his match against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on June 9.
Pacquiao— an unabashed basketball fan— is in the U.S. to fulfill a healthy dose of commitments but has found time to meet with Lin at Madison Square Garden before the Knicks game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Call it Pac-Mania meets Linsanity.
The WBO welterweight champ is a basketball fanatic and it comes as no surprise to know that Pacquiao and his rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. are in different corners when it comes to the Knicks phenom.
Mayweather said the Asian-American Lin is overhyped because of his race; while Pacquiao— a national treasure in the Philippines— considers Lin a hero and wants to shake his hand.
Pacquiao might feel a special kinship with Lin.
Like Lin, he was passed over for a long time before making a name for himself when he fought on the undercard of an Oscar De La Hoya-headliner in 2001. It was never the same for Pac-Man since.
Pac-Man's promoter, Top Rank's Bob Arum, went the distance in arranging a meeting between—arguably— the world's best pound-for-pound fighter and the 23-year-old rising star.
Pacquiao owns a basketball team in the Philippines called the MP- Gensan Warriors which he regularly trains with. He plays guard on the team and— coincidently— wears the same No. 17 as Lin.
"The only thing is when he is driving to the basket down the lane, the sea parts," said Top Rank spokesman Lee Samuels.
Linsane might be a good way to describe Pacquiao's upcoming itinerary.
His list of commitments to fulfill include having his deposition taken in relation with the defamation suit against Mayweather Jr., an endorsement gig with Nike, and holding press conferences in Beverly Hills and New York to promote his upcoming bout.
Something tells me that rubbing elbows with Lin might be a bigger thrill for the champ than the rest of his U.S. excursion. And this is a guy who has met the likes of Kobe Bryant and hoards of Hollywood stars.
According to Samuels, when Pacquiao fought David Diaz in Chicago in 2008, one of the first things he wanted to do was see the statue of Michael Jordan outside the United Center.
"He just stared at it for the longest time," said Samuels. "He really loves basketball. Wherever he is, he's always trying to get a pickup game."
Maybe we'll see a little one-on-one game between the two worldwide sensations.