Jeremy Lin brings hope for Asian athletes

On Feb. 15, after I played an intramural basketball game, my Facebook status read: “Now I know why Jeremy Lin is so admired by Asians. I wish I am taller. I wish I am stronger. I wish I have more athletic practices and opportunities before college. I wish study is not the only thing I did in high school.”

Besides a little jealousy, I am proud of Jeremy Lin, who is a Chinese-American, a rising star in the NBA and at the same time, a Harvard graduate.

He seems to carry hopes  of the entire Asian American community, whose culture “mass-produces successful teens but mediocre Americans,” claims the article “Paper Tigers” in New York Magazine.

But after I followed up on Lin’s interviews in both the U.S. and foreign media, I realized what is really behind Lin-Sanity, regardless of race and stereotypes.

Though it seems he has just emerged, each step in his life definitely built on his path to who he is right now.

As his mother said in an interview, Lin’s brothers also love playing basketball, but his older brother didn’t get professional training at an early age, and his younger brother didn’t meet coaches like Jeremy did.

Between basketball and school, Lin’s mother also played a crucial role in helping him manage a busy schedule and made sure that school came first.

More importantly, his faith in God shaped his values.

According to Baylor University professor Jerry Park’s study, 22 percent of Asian-Americans are Protestant Christians, which is not as rare as we thought, and the number is still growing. Lin is a strict Christian.

He said in an interview on a TV show in Taiwan, “when things are not going well, I just had so many voices in my ears telling me what I’m supposed to do. But my agent and I try to focus on religion and immerse ourselves in the world.”

Everyone has his/her own life path. I am not here trying to analyze reasons of Lin’s success but to emphasize that people are always willing to forget one’s problems before his/her success.

Lin was refused any athletic scholarship at his dream school, Stanford University.

He went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft; he had too much pressure of representing Asians while he played for the Golden State Warriors; he was waived twice and then mostly stayed on the bench of the New York Knicks before he led a winning streak starting January 20.

So, the lesson I learned from him is to never give up but to appreciate difficulties.

As the other half of my Facebook status says, “Everything starts from working hard. I’m glad I didn’t give up when we were losing.”

Jaffy Xiao/Online editor
Jaffy can be reached at

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