Jeremy Lin: An Asian Non-NBA Fan’s Take

By Kimber Solana
An email greeted me this morning like this: “Don’t call me racist, but…I wish you had the basketball knowledge to write a quick Jeremy Lin post for the sports blog I’ve got going.”

Jeremy Lin who?

“Because honestly, that’s the best story going in sports right now. In fact, I don’t even think you need much knowledge. Just an observer’s opinion.”

The best story? In sports? What am I missing after I stopped watching ESPN when my two least liked playoff teams made it to the Super Bowl?

Curious, I Googled “Jeremy Lin.” And there it was. The search yielded headlines with such inspired words: “Lin-Toxicating,” “Linsanity,” and – my favorite because it’s a bit of a stretch – “Lin-sational. ”

In a matter of minutes, I knew all about the 23-year-old point guard’s Cinderalla story. He was a Harvard star but went undrafted. He was cut by two teams in the preseason and sent to the D-League (whatever that is). He lives with his brother and sister-in-law. Now he’s out-scoring Kobe Bryant (Yeah, I don’t really follow the NBA, but I know who Kobe Bryant is) with Spike Lee tweeting about him. And lastly, this Jeremy Lin guy – his parents came from Taiwan. He’s a NBA star who is Asian-American…a rarity.

I know, it’s probably Linappropriate to focus on his race. I’m sure this post won’t help erase stereotypes and may be politically-Lincorrect. In one of the columns I read this morning, I saw a photo of a sign that read: “Crouching Tiger Hidden Point Guard.” Yes, we should really focus on the fact that this unknown player – whether he was Asian, white, black, whatever – is front and center in turning around the Knicks’ apparently not-so-Linspiring season.

But as a Filipino-American, I hope I’m allowed to feel some Asian pride.

Let’s face it, superstar athletes of Asian descent in American professional sports are hard to come by. I dare you to name 10 active Asian athletes who are truly household names. There’s Tiger Woods (he’s still Tiger Woods). There’s Manny Pacquiao. Troy Polamalu is of Samoan descent. Maybe Ichiro Suzuki? Maybe Apolo Ohno? Is Yao Ming still playing? Oh, and Tim Tebow.

Has Jeremy Lin reached such superstar status? Maybe not yet. Most non-NBA followers probably haven’t heard of his name. But like this morning, when my blogger friend – who I will not call racist for thinking of me to write a Jeremy Lin post because he’s not – introduced me to him, I can only hope his popularity grows and lasts more than 15 minutes.

Yes, just as how this Chargers fan hopped on the Broncos bandwagon when fellow-Filipino Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback, this NBA non-follower wants onto Lin’s bandwagon. I may even watch the next New York Knicks game on TV. Why not? Who can resist an underdog success story? It should be (dare I say it?) a Lin-joyable ride.

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