This might be coming a bit more than a few weeks late, but how great of a story is Jeremy Lin!?
I currently live with three other hoopheads, and my apartment have been following his career with much interest for years now. From his stint with the Warriors and the Rockets to his recent meteoric rise to fame, we have been big Lin fans all the way. He was (and still is) all we can talk about sometimes! When he lit up the Lakers last month to the tune of thirty-eight big points, we were more than conflicted.
It helps that we have a more personal connection to the star too. My roommate’s girlfriend grew up in the same church as the Lins, and my roommate has had the pleasure of actually meeting the Hero of Harvard in person through her. From the anecdotes she has shared, it seems like the Lins are actually huge Bruin fans, but UCLA told Jeremy he could try walking on – oh, how close we were! AND, Jeremy’s younger brother was actually set to move into our apartment and sublet for the summer before other plans intervened. It is crazy to think about what would or might have happened!
On a more serious note, one of the under-reported aspects of all this hype is that of the Asian-American parent. Specifically, the pride that first-generation immigrants collectively seem to be sharing in seeing someone that could have been their kid succeed on the national stage. My parents breathlessly share with me the latest developments in Linsanity every time I talk to them; the aunties and uncles I have talked to do the same. From what I hear from my other friends and family, this is a common experience. To them, unschooled (unlike us) in all the terminology and concepts of ethnic studies, I think Jeremy Lin represents the acceptance into American culture that they never could attain, marked as they were and are by differences in accent and background. He shows them that with hard work and perseverance, they too can achieve in areas where Asian-Americans are not normally allowed. He did what seemed for so many years to be impossible, taking on an implicitly racist system and winning – not only basketball games, but the hearts and minds of the American public. My parents are proud to point to Jeremy Lin as a symbol of Asian-Americans succeeding magnificently in the United States. And seeing them swell with that pride is the reason I am thankful for Linsanity.