All Eyes on NBA Sensation Jeremy Lin

All Eyes on NBA Sensation Jeremy Lin

To be honest, this post is long overdue.

After all, our website is now the go-to place for all things Taiwanese American, and since young point-guard Jeremy Lin, an undrafted Harvard graduate, came off the New York Knick’s bench to lead a victory against the New Jersey Nets on February 4, 2012, he has continued to amaze audiences worldwide by achieving career highs with subsequent games and taking a struggling team through a series of wins. His has been a Cinderella story, indeed — a “Linspirational Linderella” story as the media might put it.

Every time I have planned to put up a post about Jeremy, who is of Taiwanese and Chinese heritage but more American than anything else, it seems we’re already out-of-date. As of today, he has led the Knicks to a 7 game winning streak and has already made it on to the cover of Sports Illustrated. He keeps breaking records and making game-winning shots. He continues to captivate us with his versatile basketball skills, and as sports experts might say, he demonstrates skillful court vision and leadership.

What can’t this young man do?

Sure, it’s only the start of his NBA career, and only time will tell if he can live up to all the hype and attention. But, I’ll say this: We’ve followed him since his Harvard days (admittedly because he was of Taiwanese descent), and we definitely saw some magic even back then. And in 2010, when he was finally picked up by his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors, we were there to cheer for him during his first game, joined by throngs of admiring (predominantly Asian American) fans. We have definitely been believers of Jeremy’s talent once we saw him play.

Read our 2010 article: “Jeremy Lin: A Boston Fan’s Broadcast from the Bleachers”

Watch our brief 2011 video interview with Jeremy, when he served as a judge for talent competition, KollaborationSF: http://youtu.be/tbup-Gba3dU

But, when it comes down to it, sports fan or not, to us as Taiwanese and Asian Americans, he has already become our sports/ generational/ cultural icon. We all see a little something of ourselves in him. Whether it’s simply our race/ethnicity, our own personal struggles as Americans of Asian descent, our faith in something greater than ourselves, or a hard-working attitude that we can relate to, Jeremy shows us that we really can pursue our passions and live our lives to the fullest. And that says something about how we long for heroes who we as Taiwanese and Asian Americans can relate to.

No doubt, he has made a mark already, being only the 2nd Asian American in the NBA, but really the first for contemporary Asian America. All eyes are on Jeremy right now, and we continue to root for more future successes. Like many other communities, we’ll embrace him as one of our own.

So, chances are, this post WILL be out-of-date once you read this, the backlash and doubts will emerge, the losses will happen, and greater challenges will certainly come. However, we’ll let this post serve as a record of his “Lincredible” and “Linspirational” start in the NBA, knowing that Jeremy will continue to surprise us with achievements beyond our expectations for years to come.

Below, we give you highlights and links to some of the interesting articles and blogs that have been published during his first week as a breakout NBA star:

2/15/12 – Reuters: Lin happy to smash stereotypes by living the NBA dream
“California-born Lin said he was looking forward to returning to the homeland of his parents after the NBA season to host a basketball camp. ‘I did that last summer as well,’ the soft-spoken 23-year-old said. ‘I have a strong passion for the game and I have a strong passion for Taiwan. I would love to do that.’”

2/15/12 – Wall Street Journal: China, Taiwan Both Lay Claim to Jeremy Lin
“It would be an understatement to say Taiwan has a bad case of “Linsanity.” Mr. Lin has been on the front page of every major Taiwan newspaper and local malls have taken to broadcasting Knicks games in public spaces. Even Taiwan’s normally staid financial analysts have gotten into the spirit: In an email, one analyst attributed the Taiwan stock-market rally early Wednesday to Mr. Lin’s game-winning shot.”

2/15/12 – Washington Post: Jeremy Lin’s ethnicity is only part of the story
“Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. missed the point about surprising New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin. Granted, Lin’s Asian-American heritage is part of his intriguing story — but the player’s unexpected success is what’s most compelling about him.”

2/15/12 – Bloomberg: Knicks’ ‘Linsanity’ Has Stats Geeks Saying Told You So as Streak Hits Six
“Before his rise from obscurity, a few argued that Lin might be something special. They weren’t the NBA scouts or general managers who make player decisions, though. They were statistics geeks, sports junkies with day jobs. Now they are enjoying a good, long told-you-so moment.”

2/15/12 – The New York Times: Jeremy Lin’s Grandmother Watches, Along With Taiwan
“Long before Jeremy Lin began winning games in spectacular style for the Knicks, his Taiwanese grandmother, Lin Chu A Muen, came to the United States to look after him as a young child while his parents worked. She diapered and fed him and, as he grew up, cooked big batches of fried eggs and turnips, a Taiwanese favorite.”

2/15/12 – Reuters: A new NBA star, Jeremy Lin becomes a bankable name
“Jeremy Lin’s surprising basketball heroics have made the 23-year-old point guard a sports sensation and media darling nearly overnight, and there are no shortage of entrepreneurs trying to cash in.”

2/13/12 – Mercury News: Lin’s Appeal: Faith, Pride and Points
“Sucker punched by the cold business of the NBA — playing for his third team in a year — Lin suffered in silence. Before he was the talk of the sports world, before he was crowned star of the Knicks, Lin was ridden with doubt and anxiety. So he doubled down on his commitment to God. And without that, he believes, there would be no Lin-sanity.”

2/11/12 – Forbes: Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning
“What can all of us learn from this young man — and how can we apply these same lessons to our own lives when we go back to work on Monday morning?”

2/10/12 – SI.com: Can Lin add to his legend? There’s reason to believe the answer is yes
“Even though Lin went on to star at Harvard, even though he impressed me every time I watched him in high school and college, even though he had a memorable summer league duel against Wall, more than holding his own as an undrafted rookie against the No. 1 pick of the draft, I wasn’t at all surprised when no one thought he had much of a chance to succeed in the NBA. I knew on some level that part of the reason Lin was so quickly dismissed was that NBA people had a hard time believing that an Asian-American could play point guard in the NBA, which is why I’m kicking myself — I didn’t question the conventional wisdom even though it didn’t go along with what I saw with my own eyes.”

2/10/12 – Slam Online: Pride and Prejudice – Jeremy Lin and the persistence of racial stereotypes
“Lin breaks down, or at least penetrates, the walls that have excluded Asian Americans from popular culture. The pride, adoration and celebration reflect this history of exclusion, a history of erasure, and invisibility. The efforts to link Lin to Nike’s “Witness” campaign is illustrative in that we are all witness—maybe for the first time in history—of an Asian American sports hero, someone who challenges and defies expectations and stereotypes.”

2/9/12 – USA Today: Even Kobe impressed by ‘Lin-sational’ Knicks
“Players don’t usually come out of nowhere. If you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning, but no one ever noticed. … It is a great story. It is a testament to perseverance and hard work. It is a good example to kids everywhere.”

Special thanks to our sports enthusiast friends Eric Chen, Alex Yang, Eric Chang, and John Lin for helping to compile this list of articles. Additional thanks to Karen Lin, Annie Tung, and Amy Lee for photo and video contributions.