The NBA is currently in a state of shock after a series of devastating performances from the new rising star of basketball, New York Knicks point guard, Jeremy Lin.
|Lin at Harvard|
The 23-year-old, American-born Taiwanese superstar has beaten all the odds to defy his critics and smash NBA records, scoring 136 points in his first five career starts – a record that eclipses previous heroes of the sport including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
Just two weeks ago, Lin was considered a third-choice point guard in danger of being cut for the third time this season, yet in an unlikely turnaround, he now has the fastest selling NBA jersey and crowds of people chanting his name in adoration.
Lin failed to receive any Division I collegiate scholarship offers out of high school and went undrafted in the NBA draft, being cut by two teams, but his obvious abundance of talent has left many fans questioning his recent emergence, wondering what has held back such an explosive performer until now.
|The man of the moment|
Listening to Lin followers in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, it becomes clear that racial stereotyping has much to answer for in the delay of Lin’s rise to becoming an NBA great.
Basketball is dominated by African American and Caucasian professionals, but Lin is finally managing to do what many Asian’s before him have failed to.
Lin himself referred to racial issues in a recent interview, admitting, “I feel like Asians in general don’t get the respect that we may deserve whether it comes to sports, basketball or whatever it might be… Maybe I can help break this stereotype.”
This issue of race has been a long-running dilemma for Lin who chose to attend Harvard in a hope to get noticed. Over four years the man who received zero scholarship offers after high school, scored a staggering 1,483 points, 487 rebounds, 406 assists and 225 steals.
This still failed to gain interest from NBA scouts and going undrafted in 2010, Lin signed for the Golden State Warriors, but he was offered minimal playing time and only managed an average of 2.6 points per game, being released in December.
Shortly after, he was signed up by Houston Rockets, but was again released before the season commenced.
|Winning the fans love|
Having been unemployed for almost a month, New York Knicks gave Lin a lifeline, agreeing a non-guaranteed contract and having been a whisker away from being cut for a third time, the opportunity to prove his worth arrived on February 4th.
Lin took his chance in emphatic style, producing a stunning 25-point performance against the New Jersey Nets, but he was only getting started.
Houston Rockets Daryl Morey regretfully claimed that he “Did not know he was this good.”
|Kobe learns a lesson|
Surely his excellent high school and Harvard records were an indication of his talents. He clearly should have received a scholarship and a draft in the NBA, with opportunity to play last season.
This said, Lin is still young and the delay in his arrival on the NBA scene has only served to make his impact even more explosive.
Lin is no longer concerned with the past and is using his on-court ability to do his talking. The new star of the game has led the Knicks to a 6-0 record in their last six games, with an average of 27 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds.
On February 10th Lin scored a sensational 38 points against NBA giant Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, before scoring the winning three-point basket against the Toronto Raptors on February 14th to solidify his popularity across the globe.
With his refreshing, if not old-fashioned pass and shoot style, Lin is reminding basketball fans of the importance of the fundamental principles of the game. He is also giving hope to all young basketball stars worldwide.
In just two weeks Lin has set records, won games and sold jerseys. But, much more than this, he has provided hope.
Jeremy Lin has transformed the outlook, not only for Asian Americans in the NBA, but for racial stereotyping on a global scale. A truly remarkable story, dubbed ‘Lin-sane’ by American media has left us all believing a little more in ourselves.
Written by Dom Wallace
Written by Dom Wallace