Jeremy Lin isn’t the Warriors future, but he’s likely the future. What I mean by that is, we shouldn’t expect another 50 year Asian American drought. Basketball is expanding, its orange rubber tentacles blanket the nation from which Lin’s parents departed. And that’s decent. The game should grow—new places, new faces, new styles.

I chafed at Casspi fetishization the same way I sneered at everyone else on my Birthright trip. I have the presumptuousness to imagine that—were I Asian-American—I’d hate Lin hype with every cell of my blackened, contrarian blood bladder. But I’m not and I don’t. My heart beats for thee, Jeremy. And it helps that you beat out Udoh in Hollinger’s player rater.

Sports inherently promote tribal identification, so who can argue with positive tribalism? People are going to enthusiastically root for their community products no matter what. It’d be hypocritical for me to back a team that represents my region, only to shake my fist at those who cheer Lin out of ethnic identification. As long as fans aren’t jeering a player for racial reasons (see: European soccer), it’s all good.

Apart from being an excuse to drink, sports hold value as a template for collective experience. Back when I lived in Brooklyn, I exited a rainy day and entered a local bar. It was packed with middle-aged Chinese men, held tight to a Rockets game. I’d heard of Yao’s connection to his countrymen but this was a tangible introduction. Most of the men didn’t speak English, or at least didn’t speak it to me. The game was on, after all. And it was thrilling to be there, just to share something with people I had little in common with.

So long live Lin hype. Let’s get more people excited about this here basketball thing. I’m all in favor, as long as it doesn’t get too crazy (see: giant Cleveland Lebron false idol painful memory poster). Jeremy will sink or swim on his own, we’ll figure out the rest later. I’m hoping Lin can bring some off-the-bench defense to go along with some new fans. Or he could easily flame out, which wouldn’t be a calamitous missed opportunity for America’s Chinese community. I’m sure some of those first generation Rockets fans are teaching their second-gen kids how to ball.

8 Responses

  1. godfather

    amen to the previous post amid the windy essays on ethnicity in sport; go into warriors history a bit and discover an organization blessed with the mieuli-attles combination, two men i’ve had the privilege to call friends

  2. DeuelWarrior

    Nufff Said… this video will get you jacked up about this dude.

  3. DeuelWarrior

    Yeah I was hoping we would get Lin and Samham.. but Nelson hates on the non-uber-athletic. I am stoked on Lin. He did well this summer league and not only on the numbers but even impressive how he did against Wall and Lawson. He has the smarts to fit in and I think he will do just fine. Lets hope this is another one of the Warriors diamonds in the rough that we get undrafted.

  4. JIm Chen

    I think that there have been too much emphasis on Jeremy Lin’s Ethnicity and not enough on his skill set. There are Taiwanese out there saying that they are proud of him, because he’s Taiwanese. Some Chinese would say that he’s Chinese, and American born Chinese would say that he’s American. The fact is, the general US population is not going to care where he’s from, because all Asians are the same. Regardless of Jeremy’s birthright as an American, he will never be viewed as an “American.” In addition, why are there some many American Chinese that hate on Yi Jianlian, Yao Ming and Sun Yue, because they are born in China. I am proud to say that I was born in China, but grew up in the US, so I have an appreciation for both cultures. Jeremy Lin is only one of four Chinese, Asian, Taiwanese NBA player in the entire country. We should root for all of four of these players, because they help contradict the stereotype that Asians in general are not athletic enough or good enough to play in the NBA. The fact is African-Americans are the majority in the NBA making everyone else a minority including whites and Asians. Jeremy Lin is a pioneer just like Mengke Bateer, the first Chinese player in the NBA, and he’s shattering stereotypes each type he steps on the court. Who said that a smart Chinese kid from Harvard can’t play ball? They doubted him in high school, then college and now NBA, but he proved otherwise. Go Jeremy!!! Prove them wrong, one more time.

  5. Ethan Sherwood Strauss


    I’m with you, but didn’t have time to parse Asian-American vs. Chinese-American. The category of “Asian-American” has always been slightly confusing to me. How similar in language, culture, etc. is someone from Indonesia to someone from Mongolia?

  6. Vegaswarrior

    This could be a huge blockbuster movie in the makings for peter gruber remind me of a movie called blind side, good luck jeremy hopefully you will turn out to be a success story.

  7. Sean

    The part you don’t understand is the Asian AMERICAN part. Most Asians didn’t really give a rats ass about Yao because he’s straight from China. Same with Yi Jinlian and Sun what’s his face on the Lakers. But, with Lin you have an American born player because in the end we’re all Americans. The Model Minority myth plays on our excitement, too, because we don’t want to always be known as oh good in Math. Jeremy Lin is probably the first sign of someone who is actually looks decent and is an Asian American. Hopefully he does well. He’s got a good resume, so let’s hope he makes something out of it in the NBA.