Jeremy Lin has had an interesting career. He went undrafted after four years at Harvard, spent a couple seasons in the D-League, and even played briefly in China before getting his first real shot at playing time with the New York Knicks.
It was in New York where Lin blew up on a national level, creating the ‘Linsanity’ phenomenon after a series of incredibly fun games that led to some unexpected Knicks wins on the back of Lin’s excellent play. While Linsanity was fun, it’s undeniable that partial justification of the nationwide hype had to do with Lin’s unique heritage – he was the first player of Taiwanese descent to ever appear in the NBA.
But just as race only somewhat accounted for his meteoric rise to fame, Lin told the New York Daily News that it also contributed to his inability to find a firm landing spot in the league – both before and after Linsanity.
“You can just take the racial element alone. You can add on so many other factors, but really anything I do is hyper-magnified in a good way or a bad way,” he said. “People are quick to discount me or say certain things because of my race. And when I do well, people are quick to say he’s so amazing, he’s the truth, whatever, because of my race, because of the way I look.
“In some ways, Linsanity wouldn’t have been Linsanity if I was a different skin color, most likely, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal, and that went to my advantage, too, but if you look prior to that, a lot of the obstacles to even get to that point where I could get to a position of getting on the floor, those were definitely obstacles that were very much stereotypes that I had to fight along the way. So I’ve always understood that there’s good and there’s bad and you have to take them together and just be thankful for it all.”
Racial issues are going to be a huge topic of discussion during the upcoming NBA season, with the brunt of that conversation surrounding conflict between police and the black community. Those talks, though, are hardly the only ones worth having. With very few players of both Asian and Hispanic descent, it’s worth understanding their experiences as the few shades of gray in a league that is predominantly black and white.
(via New York Daily News)