Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Burning Questions About Jeremy Lin, Basketball and the NBA
Hi Meltingpot Readers,
I think you'd have to be living under a rock to not know something about Jeremy Lin. He's the Chinese-American, Harvard grad, who according to reports, has single-handedly turned the New York Knicks basketball team around from a losing streak to, #winning!
His story is a NBA fairy tale. Passed over for a permanent position in the NBA, Lin was sleeping on his brother's couch waiting for a miracle. One came when he got a short-term contract to play for the Knicks. During that time he played so well, he was offered an official contract and Lin-sanity ensues. He's on the cover of magazines, on ESPN, endorsement deals are rolling in, his name has inspired any number of clever puns, and the entire country of China now suddenly cares about basketball. Okay, that last part is a stretch, but still.
So, that's the glossed over, layman's description of the Jeremy Lin saga. So here are my burning questions.
1. Yes the 'from sleeping on my brother's couch to NBA star' is a compelling tale. And yes, there are less than five other Ivy league grads in the NBA, but can we all admit that the reason Jeremy Lin is such a fascinating figure is that he is Chinese?
2. If the answer to the above is yes, what does that say about our collective racist group think mentality? That is, why is it so amazing that a Chinese-American can play professional level basketball? Is it okay to just say, well, it's just that we just never see Chinese people playing in the NBA so it's so different. Or should we not be asking ourselves what is truly underlying these feelings of shock and awe?
3. Is there a difference between Lin-sanity and what we experienced when we saw Venus Williams take home her first Grand Slam trophy? Or when Tiger Woods donned his first green jacket? I think so. With Venus Williams and Tiger Woods the conversation was about access. If given access, wouldn't more Black kids play (and dominate) tennis and/or golf? But with Jeremy Lin, aren't we all just surprised that Asian men can jump? Why is that?
4. For those of you who have been following Lin's career, aren't you happy that he is so humble and a total cutie pie?
5. And finally, why do you think more Asian players aren't in the NBA? Answer that if you dare.
Okay, enlighten me with your wisdom, dear readers. I'm listening.