What Linsanity means to me, an Asian American
For two weeks, the sports news has been flooded by a cinderalla story sensation occuring in New York. Jeremy Lin, the first taiwanese american NBA player ever, and first chinese american player since like, the 50s, has been putting up all star numbers.
As a sports fan, I’ve always enjoyed watching the NFL and NBA, despite their problems. There’s nothing like a good underdog story, and the sportswriters are calling this a Disney movie in the making. They’re saying we’ve never seen the likes of this since the days of “Rudy”. A true, out of nowhere underdog. And he’s Asian!
As an Asian American, I am accustomed to not seeing Asian players in the NBA. Sure, there was Yao Ming, and Yi Janglian, but those were China imports bred to play the sport, and both were highly publicized before ever touching our soil. I went back to my hometown of Milwaukee to see Yao and the Rockets play against Yi and the Bucks four years ago. It was chinese new year. The atmosphere was insane. It still doesn’t come close to Jeremy Lin.
Asian Americans loved watching Yao, and to some extent, Yi, but they were not one of us. We knew they came from a communist regime that had hand picked them when they were three, and trained for this specific purpose. Lin is different. As an Asian American, he is living our dream, and we want to live vicariously through him. At last, our time has come.
I have been following Lin since last year, before Linsanity had ever begun. Back then, he was just a hometown hero story; a San Fransisco native playing for the Golden State Warriors. While he didn’t wow anyone, I was already lost to Linsanity. An Asian American Harvard graduate playing in the NBA? To me, he may as well have been Superman. He was satisfying his parents’ lofty hopes while achieving his athletic dreams, and trust me, such a thought for an Asian American is the biggest pipe dream.
So call me crazy, but I’m riding this Linsanity Train all the way to the end. Even if he fizzles to a much more modest standing, I’ll be as amazed. For us Asian Americans, our Michael Jordan has come.