Linsanity!: Asian-Americans in Professional Sports

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Last season within the NBA an unexpected star was born in Harvard graduate Jeremy Lin. Jeremy Lin was of Asian-American descent and he played the position of point guard for the New York Knicks last year and he was recently traded away to the Houston Rockets this season. Jeremy was undrafted out of college and he definitely had to endure a tough road to get where he is to this day. He didn’t play much in his rookie year after signing a contract with the Golden State Warriors. He was initially sent to the NBA Development League (D-League) three times which resulted in two different teams waiving the rights to his player contract but that did not stop him from playing the game he loved. In February of 2012 Jeremy Lin got another chance with the New York Knicks when one of their main point guards injured himself which garnered Lin more playing time. During this time in 2012 Lin was able to lead the New York Knicks to seven straight wins after starting in six games and coming off the reserves bench in another. Within this winning streak Jeremy Lin was putting up unprecedented numbers that no one thought he was capable of which allowed for the phenomenon of “Linsanity” to be created. However this phenomenon would be short-lived unfortunately. On the eighth game after going 7-0 the New York Knicks streak was snapped by the lowly New Orleans Hornets in which Lin had scored an impressive 26 points but had turned over the ball an unacceptable nine times eventually costing his team the game in an 89-85 defeat. Following this defeat ESPN potentially took things a bit too far when they created a front-page story on their website under the headline, “Chink In The Armor”. It was such a low-blow to Jeremy Lin and his nationality which he has absolutely no control over and most had considered it to be extremely offensive. Eventually ESPN came to their senses and replaced the headline with something with a little less shock value. However, this wasn’t the only sign of yellow peril during this time. Major athletes and even the New York Post were making obscene comments and outrageous front page stories about someone who was meant to be an inspiration to everyone for what he has accomplished. Jeremy Lin was being marginalized by everyone in the sports world as just another fad that wouldn’t last but yet he is still a starting point guard in the league today. In the end, a man was judged based on the color of his skin and the shape of his eyes instead of the impact he had on the game and the barriers he and other Asian-Americans in sports have faced for years and years. He wasn’t the first and he definitely won’t be the last so all we can hope is that we as a people become more accepting of those who are different from us and not resort to stereotyping and slinging insults in the future.

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One thought on “Linsanity!: Asian-Americans in Professional Sports

  1. There’s a new documentary out about Jeremy Lin that covers some of these issues. You provide a fine summary of the challenges that sport media have in addressing diversity.

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