A 6â€™ 3â€ Asian point guard from Harvard has taken over the New York Knicks, the NBA and basically the rest of the Universe.
Was that bigoted because I started describing Jeremy Lin with his race? Or is it simply the context of the setting?
Asian point guards in the NBA are essentially non-existent, so Linâ€™s race does indeed play a role in his story.Â
There is no better place to analyze the subject of race in sports then the NBA.
A game created and initially played by American white men is now completely dominated by African Americans with some help from Europe. Of course, most of the men who coach, direct personnel and own the teams are white.
Out of all the sports in todayâ€™s world, basketball seems to have the most relevant racial topics. The ways in which black basketball players are described and viewed is often racist. It is not every day you hear a white man in the NBA referred to as a thug or a gangster.
However, the racist train runs more then one way. If you listen to sports talk and game broadcasts it seems that white men born in the U.S. are only good at passing and three pointers.
Implications that white players are physically incapable of competing are met with descriptions like these: â€œThis guy is a real finesse player, he finds a way,â€ â€œA hard nosed guy that understands the game of basketballâ€.
Donâ€™t forget the Europeans, though.
Thereâ€™s enough basketball racism to go around for everyone!
As soon as a player enters the league from Europe he gets tagged as â€œsoftâ€. I agree that many Europeans play a different brand of basketball, but watch Dirk Nowitzki in the finals last year; that is a man who was once called soft.
What spurred my thoughts about the NBA and race are comments made by the infamous boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Through his Twitter Mayweather 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.”
I think Mayweather has proven in the past and present that he is a racist, sexist, homophobe and just isnâ€™t a nice guy. But, while his comments were racist, there is a sliver of truth.
The first issue with the boxerâ€™s comments is that they are incorrect.
Black players, and for that matter any players, have not done what Jeremy Lin has accomplished. He has had one of the most incredible, shocking, and transcending starts to a career in the history of basketball.
Iâ€™m not positive what NBA Floyd Mayweather watches, but no one besides Lin has ever come out of the shadows and had such a meteoric rise to fame. Add on that Lin is doing this for the New York Knicks, a team in a desperate situation, and that heâ€™s overshadowing two superstars.
Donâ€™t forget that Lin is from Harvard, a place that doesnâ€™t produce quite as many professionals as Kentucky.
While Linâ€™s individual performances have been impressive, his actual numbers have been outdone before. Mayweather is making this argument, but it is taken completely out of context. The setting of the situation and circumstances that occurred to give Jeremy Lin a chance come out of a script that is way too â€œHollywoodâ€ (except itâ€™s real).
While his achievements are the main story, Mayweather is correct in one area. The fact Jeremy Lin is Asian undoubtedly has increased the bounds of his story. This can be explained with two simple facts.
Fact 1: There are a lot of Asian people on earth and basketball is popular in many of those communities. Lin has become a sensation on the other side of the world and David Stern can just sit back and smoke his victory cigar.
Fact 2: There are not many Asians in the NBA, and more importantly, there are noÂ 6â€™ 3â€ Asians that play point guard.
Itâ€™s an anomaly: a small Asian point guard from Harvard taking control of the NBA.
Is that racist or is it simply a fact?
The truth is that Jeremy Linâ€™s race plays an important part in his story and rise to stardom. Race is not why Lin got his chance, in fact it is most likely why he was so often overlooked.
His story is that of the underdog, who never gave up and eventually made it big. Linâ€™s story is not about race, itâ€™s about a basketball player seizing his dream by the horns and beginning the adventure of a lifetime.