Thursday, February 16, 2012

What February 15th-16th Means To Me: More Linsanity and Race Discussion

I know I already wrote about Jeremy Lin's hype, and how it connects to his race here (in before the national media!), but I wanted to touch upon it a bit more now that it's become a larger part of the national conversation.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather's contreversial tweet on "Linsanity" is getting quite a bit of play in the media, and has inspired a good deal of both conversation and direct response.

He said:

“Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise.”

While I don't agree with Mayweather's comment fully, because it implies that Lin's basketball accomplishments are less impressive than they are (he has been AWESOME), his tweet is not baseless.  Because Lin's race is hardly represented in the basketball community (unless you're really tall, like Yao Ming), prejeduce has probably affected him for his entire career.  Lin was a very successful high school player, but couldn't get a scholarship, and a very successful college player who never got too much of a sniff at the pro game until these past couple of weeks.  And now that we are all watching him on display, we, of course, wonder how the hell no one saw this before.  Every part of his game (save for defense) seems polished.  If Jeremy was black or white, would he have been slighted earlier in his career?  Hard to say, but it's certainly worth the conversation.

I mentioned in my earlier post that his hype was certainly partially due to his race, and I'll stand by that.  He has not only energized the Asian American community (and Canadian), but he also has inspired viewing parties in Taipei.  It appears the Asian community has put a lot of hope and stock in Lin, and rightfully so, he's putting the community back on stage and providing a basketball role model for millions of Asian children both here and abroad.  To ignore this fact would be dishonest.

Put it this way.

If Jeremy Lin were white or black, his ascent would easily be the biggest story of the 2012 NBA season.

Because of his Asian background, his story is one of the biggest in the world. 


  1. This is going to sound extremely racist, but Lin could've replied "Why does a black CEO get a movie made about him starring Will Smith when plenty of Asians do it with regularity"...

    As Mike Wilbon said, Mayweather is a flat out bigot. Reading the things he said about Pacaio, the man could throw on a white rob and dunce cap and not be out of place at a Klan rally were it not for the obvious.

    1. I agree with Wilbon, but I dont think mayweather is flat out wrong in this case. He's just a bit of an asshole about it and harbors some weird resentment.