It goes without saying that Jeremy Lin is a smart guy. Having Harvard on your credentials makes that sort of a no-brainer. When the new Houston guard visited Taiwan during his first visit to see where his parents were born, Lin — born and raised in the U.S. but clearly cognizant of international relations — slipped a question Sunday during press availability about whether he’s Chinese or Taiwanese like a bad halfcourt trap. The issue of nationality is contentious between those two countries, but Lin deftly said, “There’s a lot of history behind who I am.” Smart guy. No one paid attention more to that answer than David Stern, who is salivating on an American-born, Asian-reared star-in-the-making and his effect on the Asian market. The big bet rests on this: Can he still be a game-changer globally if he can’t live up to his dream run with the Knicks last year? To be continued ’til November. Maybe the most interesting part of the interview session wasn’t his grasp of international relations off the court but on it with his comments about how Asian players are perceived in the U.S. To paraphrase a report by the Taipei Times, Lin believes being thought of as a nobody because of his race helped him because he could use the element of surprise. Once you get taken lightly, he said, you can “immediately earn their respect” by showing you’re not only not a scrub, but you can ball with the best on the court. If you’re looking to be taken seriously and you’re Asian, he said, good luck with that. His point as we see it: Few people are going to look like the prototypical hooper (such as LeBron), but Asian players have to work even harder to get any respect. If you’re not a 7-footer like Yao Ming, the track record of Asian guards in the NBA, or lack thereof, certainly bears out truth to what he said. The players at the event said he inspired them to be great — and that’s music to Stern’s ears. … The U.S. women’s team found its “Nigeria game” of the Olympics. They ripped apart China, 114-66, on Sunday to finish pool play 5-0. Just like the men’s win over poor Nigeria, there were some records that went down during the course of the beatdown: most points, most field goals (52), and most assists (33). The best part is what Diana Taurasi said about having “strict orders to shoot” when she’s open. Are there four more wonderful words than that in the hoops language for a shooter? She put up 22 points in 21 minutes, which isn’t going to beat Carmelo‘s 37 in 14 minutes standard. Still, it gives us just as much confidence — actually more than we have in the men’s team — that the ladies won’t drop a game. … Speaking of the men, Team USA meets Argentina on Monday. Other games we have marked down to catch some action of include Spain vs. Brazil and Russia vs. Australia. Did you see Patty Mills go for 39 in the Aussies’ last game? … By the way, Christian Laettner had to chime in and said ’92 would beat the U.S. 2012 team. So, yeah, every guy’s just going to rep their team in this “debate.” … Hit the jump to see what position Usain Bolt would play.
Has Pat Riley changed his mind on the Heat’s backup center job in only a few days? Last week the Miami boss said the team was looking for backup centers but didn’t need one. Now Miami is doing its homework on Andray Blatche of all people. Who should be more wary in this possible deal, the Heat because Blatche has never impressed anyone for longer than a week or Blatche because Eddy Curry, Dexter Pittman and Juwan Howard had less of a role than an extra in a crowd shot last year? … What position would Usain Bolt play in the NBA? We guess that question can only be answered when you figure out how to translate his mind-bending speed into an offense. He won his second gold in the 100 Sunday by ripping off a 9.63, if you missed it. His talents seem to need a wholly new position on the court, where you can have one guy ready at all times for fast breaks. He’d have to stand on the baseline of the opponent’s hoop at the elbow of the baseline and out of bounds but is “all-time offense” like in a backyard pick-up game that has odd numbers. Naturally, he’d bolt down the alley along the out-of-bounds line the second the offense got a rebound and look for the dime. It wouldn’t be an automatic score because he has to run past everyone still on defense, but we bet he could get buckets if teams didn’t have a cherry-picking defender. … You’ll see some stuff soon here on Dime about the Adidas Nations tourney out in SoCal, but this was interesting, too. Antoine Walker was making the rounds telling some players about the importance of good choices. He’d certainly know. … We’re out like Bolt.
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