What do you think about your Asian classmates or friends?
You may say they are good at Math and figuring equations. Being good at Math is one of the racial stereotypes about the Asians among others.
Some say they are shy, reserved or cute. You may think that the comment, ‘good at Math’ is a complement for the Asians. However, sometimes people fail to see outside the box. They think that Asians are good at Math and video games.
The 23-year-old Jeremy Lin has proved that there is more about Asians than being Maths genius. Lin is a Harvard graduate with a degree in Economics and a 3.1 GPA. So how come a Harvard graduate Asian American be a NBA player? The story dates back to Lin’s childhood.
Lin was born in Aug. 23, 1988 in Los Angeles and was raised up in Palo Alto, California. His parents Gie-Ming and Shirley migrated to the States from Taiwan in 1970. Lin has an older brother, Josh and a younger brother, Joseph. It was his father, Gie-Ming, who took the kids to a local YMCA and taught the boys to play basketball.
Lin and his family are devoted Christians who attend Redeemer Bible Fellowship, the English ministry of Chinese Church in Christ Mountain View.
In his senior year in 2005–2006, Lin played basketball in his high school where he captained in Palo Alto High School. After finishing his high school he applied to his favorite schools including the Ivy league schools like Harvard and Stanford. Stanford did not offer him sports scholarship and that was why he chose Harvard. Then assistant coach of Harvard, Bill Holden, was the one who saw the potential and talent of Lin.
Lin performed well while playing in Harvard for four years. He finished his career as the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225). After graduating from Harvard in 2010, Lin played for Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before playing for New York Knicks.
When New York Knicks was bad this season, Coach Mike D’Antoni decided to let Lin play. On February 4, Lin had 25 points, five rebounds, and seven assists—all career-highs—in a 99–92 Knicks victory over the New Jersey Nets.
He consistently played well leading the team to 7-0 victory after he started receiving the major play time. However, the undefeated journey of Kincks was ended after Knicks lost to New Orleans Hornets with 89-85. During the game on Sunday, Feb. 19 against Dallas Meverieicks Lin played as a great floor guy. He was described as being good with score, pass and lead in the Sunday Showcast half-time report. Knicks won the game by 104-97. Lin earned 28 points and career high 14-assists. Lin made a great comeback after having nine turnovers against New Orleans Hornets.
In last few weeks, Lin has shifted from being a bench warmer to overnight sensation in NBA. He is also getting popular worldwide, especially among Asians. He has become an inspiration to the American Asians who have gone through the same obstacles as Lin has.
One of the reasons why Lin was ignored for so long was him being an Asian American. Had he been an American or African American then the story could have been different. Even the chance he got was due to the bad performance of New York Knicks which turned out to be a stroke of luck for Lin.
Now Lin is all over the internet. Everyone is trying to find about him; his background, his family and his struggles. He has been even a bigger hit among the Asians who want to pursue a career in the sports but have always been overlooked in front of their Caucasians or African American counterparts.
However, Lin has not forgotten those days when his career was not going well. In an interview with ESPN he has said, “I had many low points. There were nights when I was reduced to tears. This year I was waived twice and I was definitely thinking about options.” He said that when he was given that chance to play against Nets he used it to play as himself.
He said, “Last year I was trying to fit in and was careful about not making mistakes. But this time I went in and played aggressively. I thought if I was going down then I was going down fighting.”
Lin also talked about the racist behavior and comments about him.
“It’s not just once but you have to prove again and again that you can play,” Lin said. “I have heard people say that he is quicker than he looks! So does that mean I look slow?”
Lin remembered his childhood days when he used to play in the backyard of his house with his brothers pretending to be Michael Jordan.
Obviously, Lin has come a long way since then. Though discouraged many times, he did not lose his passion for the basketball and finally it paid off. He deserves to be where he is today. He is not an overnight sensation who is going to pass soon. He is going to be there for quite a while now.
He said that he likes to play video games with his brothers during free time and he also likes to munch on junk food when he is playing video games. “That is why my family says that I am an oversized kid,” Lin admitted in the interview.
Lin is famous. What now? What do people say about him? He is no more an overlooked Asian guy who plays as an extra in an NBA. He is a hero of thousands. He is the one who has broken the stereotype about Asians. He has proved it to the world that Asians can play basketball.
According to NBA, Lin has dominated the jersey sell at NBAstore.com from Feb. 4 to Feb.12. The store has shipped Lin jersey to 23 countries. Taiwan and Hong Kong were third and fourth behind the USA and Canada in buying Lin jersey. The number of Lin’s followers on Sina, China’s version of Twitter, went up by almost five times from 190,000 followers on Feb. 2 to 916,747 followers on Feb.14.
And Lin is the no. 1 searched term on Baidu, China’s equivalent of Google. Recently, New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about Lin being a professional NBA player and religious. He has written in his article how being a religious person can contradict with his professional sports.
However, the racial comments have not gone away completely. ESPN ran the headline “Chink In The Armor” to accompany the game story on mobile devices after Knicks lost against the New Orleans. This caused quite a stir in the media and ESPN apologized for being insensitive. It also took action against the editor who approved the headline.
Lin is also the heartthrob of many girls now who are going crazy for him. What has been as famous as Lin in the last few weeks are Lin puns. Lin-sanity, Lin-derella and Lin-possible are just few among many.
One of the most popular Lin puns was by a lady fan of Lin who arrived at the Sunday afternoon match between Knicks and Mevericks with a poster, “Jeremy Lin, I want you Lin-side me.”
Rumors were wide that Kim Kardashian wanted to date him. However, Lin said in the interview with ESPN that he is not that type of guy. In an interview with NYpost Lin has described about what he is looking for in a woman.
‘First she would really love God and be a faithful Christian. Then after that, I think, a desire to serve other, to help with the underprivileged, do a lot of social work…great personality and easy to be around,” Lin said, “ Someone that’s definitetly chill, low key, low maintenance.”
Since Lin is a person who has faith on god and who loves god, he would definitely look for the same in the woman he wants to be with. He is a 6’3” Asian American with Taiwanese or Chinese descent with a degree from Harvard and is worldwide famous athlete. All these qualities are in the same person; a more than complete package.
Reports have said that Lin is single right now. According to the website Jeremylintastic.com, he had a girlfriend when he was in Harvard and she was also a Christian devout like Lin but they mutually broke up the relationship.
Lin has opened doors for many Asians who are struggling to go to sports, especially the immigrants. He is the one who has set the precedent for the new generation. This is true not only for sports but for other matters like dating and relationship.
Maybe now on it would be easier for an Asian guy to approach a white girl for a date. Lin’s story of struggle and multiple rejections before becoming successful would always be an inspiration, oh actually ‘Lin-spiration’ for this generation and generations to come.
Lin is not just another big name in the professional basketball but he is a legend himself. Asian guys who want to approach white girls and be friends or date them but are not confident enough because of the risk of being rejected should think twice before they give up.
Now they have a hero they can look upon; a role model they can follow; a friend they can relate to. Lin has proved that you can be cool, an athlete, religious and Asian at the same time. Come on Asian guys don’t feel shy and stay reserved anymore! Don’t let the world to create more stereotypes about you. Show the world who you are!