Every once in a lifetime, a God-sent savior comes along that trancends societal norms and limitations. African-Americans had Frederick Douglass, Latinos had Cheech and Chong, and now Asian-Americans have Jeremy Lin. Lin, if you have no idea, is a D-1 star point guard for Harvard University who has his team on track for their first NCAA tournament berth. Lin, at 6'3, has a full two inches on me, giving him a slight advantage if we were ever to play one-on-one. Lin and I had similar high school stats - I averaged 0.6 points a game my senior year at Cupertino, and Lin led Palo Alto High to a state championship - so I think it would be a good game.
While there are the Yao Ming's, Yi Jianlin's, Sun Yue's, Wang Zhizhi's, Mengke Bateer's, and Wat Misaka's that have at one time or another graced the floors of the National Basketball Association, there has never been a full modern-day Asian-American that has played in the NBA. (Rex Walters was half Japanese.) Lin has a good chance. Against some of Harvard's best competition, he put up 30 points (including two dunks) on UConn, and 25 in a win against Boston College.
Here's a video below of essentially every single highlight Lin had against UConn and some good commentary about what Lin has faced as an Asian-American in the sport of basketball. If the 10 minute video is too long, below are some short clips of his highlights at Harvard, Palo Alto, and even some pick-up games.
Top 10 SportsCenter buzzer beating 3 (play #6):
Pick-up game dunk:
Palo Alto High crossover:
Lin's story has been picked up by Time magazine in a feature story titled: "Harvard's Hoop Star Is Asian. Why's That a Problem?" You can read the story here. ESPN also did a feature story here, titled: "Immigrant dream plays out through son". Both articles chronicle the racial taunts he faces from opposing team's fans - shameful, to say the least. I mean, haven't we learned anything from all those Disney sports movies, like Remember the Titans, Glory Road, and even Bring It On? Can't we all just get along?!?!
Lin is a better man than I am. I grew up in a small town in Texas where I got made fun of all the time growing up. I also fought a lot, so it says a lot about Lin's character to stay so calm amidst the B.S. that ignorant people can say. Lin has said he just wants to be seen as a ballplayer, rather than an "Asian-American basketball player." I'm sure he didn't sign up to be the torch-bearer for Asian-American ballplayers everywhere. It's kind of like me and women - I can't begin to tell you how many women I've dated who used to tell me that I was the first Asian guy they had ever dated. I didn't sign up for that. I just wanted to be seen as a bachelor. Not an "Asian bachelor", but a plain, devastatingly good-looking bachelor with incredible cheek bones and a voice as smooth as molasses. Inevitably, I felt that I now had to at least call them the next day, lest they spread rumors everywhere about how Asian men are such a-holes.
Anyhow, I digress. Whereas I left women disenchanted and disappointed, Lin has thus far left fans begging for more. His homecoming against Santa Clara University was a sellout. You can read that article here. Here are his career stats and one draft ranking. Here's another from DraftExpress that assesses Lin still has a way to go to become an NBA player, but an attainable one. For bringing the rain, Jeremy Lin, I support you as not an Asian basketball player, but just a d*mn good baller. I will follow your career with great interest and fanfare (this kind of sounds like a marriage vow)... til death do us part. If things weren't creepy enough, I'd like to end by quoting the great Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers: "Don't ever leave me... cause I'd find you."