Linsanity, Explained

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jeff Yang, contributor to It's A Free Country, the WSJ Speakeasy blog, and former "Asian Pop" columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, and Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Takeaway sports correspondent, comment on the meteoric rise to fame of Chinese-American Knicks player Jeremy Lin, and what it says about sports, race and culture.


Ibrahim Abdul-Matin and Jeff Yang

Comments [31]

> Lin is the perfect New York Story, the ethnic who is 100% American and
> shows the world that we as a nation are great, because of the immigrant.

A good/great basketball player "shows the world that we as a nation are great." We as a nation? No wonder so many people elsewhere take such a dim view of Americans (i.e., their stupidity).

Plus he's an 'ethnic' who cleaned up his act by still managing to be "100% American." Hallelujah.

> Immigration feeds this nation with new blood and ambition.

Right, and sometimes even with new and ambitious would-be terrorists.

Feb. 17 2012 12:02 AM

A star athlete who blames Jesus for his success. Richard Dawkins' worst nightmare.

Feb. 16 2012 11:37 PM

The Chinese belong to that rarefied group,
that outscore all other groups
with respect to IQ Test.

They along with the Ashkenazi Jews,
that also belong to that group,
leave all other groups in the dust.

So why would it be surprising that a Chinese person is a Harvard University
Graduate and a fantastic basketball player as well?

It's in their genes.

Feb. 16 2012 01:51 PM

we can't prove concious discrimination,obviously. but it's entirely silly to rule it out. that does not in and of itself, make anyone evil. it can be concious and lacking malice, at one and the same time. i'm not excusing or justifying, as much as explaining.

Feb. 14 2012 02:25 PM
mem from NYC

The name is jeremy, not jerry. Forget floyd mayfeather, i thought this man-chicken would be too busy ducking pacquiao, to also be talking smack.

Feb. 14 2012 01:21 PM
Jeremy from passaic

Here's the opposite position from the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., discussed on, where Mayweather says the hype about Lin is because he's Asian. The panel discusses his comment.

Feb. 14 2012 12:38 PM
antonio from bayside

Man, some ny'ers are soooo negative...

Feb. 14 2012 11:51 AM
Amy from Manhattan

JT: Thanks, I hadn't heard that before. So how come so many people are talking about it like it *was* because he didn't have enough money for his own place?

Feb. 14 2012 11:38 AM
George from Brooklyn

Sam Fuld.

Feb. 14 2012 11:36 AM

they will still lose 50% of the time. don't bet on the knicks

Feb. 14 2012 11:34 AM
JT from LI

It isn't about the money. Lin didn't know if he'd get traded or cut so it makes sense to wait before committing to housing.

Feb. 14 2012 11:33 AM

The hoopla over Lin is clearly due to his race, but that is not to overlook his success on the court. What many casual basketball fans are missing is that 99% of NBA players under 6'4 are amazingly talented, they wouldn't be in the NBA if they weren't. It's highly unlikely that his success will continue due to two factors, Carmelo will return, and teams have scouted and now know his game. There are only a handful of players who are unstoppable even when prepared for.

Feb. 14 2012 11:29 AM
dan k from chelsea

this was a NY times article about him when the season started... how prescient!

Feb. 14 2012 11:29 AM
anna from eastchester NY

I went to Bronx H.S. of Science
in the mid 90's, during the Starks/Ewing
era. All the kids in school wore jerseys.
but the African american kids argued debated
about the game. Now I imagine the Asian kids
are debating with authority about
sports and wearing their LIN jerseys!

Feb. 14 2012 11:25 AM
The Truth from Becky

Now what does have race have to do with this again now?

Feb. 14 2012 11:23 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Hey, have they played the Super Bowl yet??? (How quickly we forget!!)

Feb. 14 2012 11:22 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Didn't Jeremy Lin practice w/his team--er, teams--even if he wasn't on the court during games? Wouldn't his teammates & coaches have noticed him breaking the stereotype, i.e., "Hey, this guy's really good for an Asian"?

Oh, & about his sleeping on his brother's couch, don't NBA teams pay their bench players decently? Anyone know how much they actually make?

Feb. 14 2012 11:19 AM
john from office

Can Spike Lee try to make a good movie again, instead of being a professional knicks fan??.

Feb. 14 2012 11:17 AM
RJ from prospect hts

I've just come into this conversation, so I don't know if this was mentioned, but the other day Michelle Martin, on Tell Me More, replayed an interview she did w/her fellow Harvard alum a few years ago. He described there anti-Asian insults thrown at him when he played for Harvard, and how they rolled off him. Isn't this remarkable today?

Feb. 14 2012 11:15 AM
The Truth from Becky

First Tebow now this, the world is FULL of "band wagon" people. *heavy sigh*

Feb. 14 2012 11:15 AM
John from office

The word is Spaniard not the "spanish guy", the listeners are not Times readers anymore, the Post crowd rules.

Feb. 14 2012 11:14 AM

Come on, this is public radio, where's the "which sport is the Knicks again?" option? (I kid, I kid.)

Feb. 14 2012 11:13 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

George - give the guy a chance.

Feb. 14 2012 11:11 AM

Scouting is an art. And success is just as much about opportunity as it is skill and passion. He's in a system that compliments his style of play.

Feb. 14 2012 11:10 AM
John from office

Lin is the perfect New York Story, the ethnic who is 100% American and shows the world that we as a nation are great, because of the immigrant. Immigration feeds this nation with new blood and ambition.

Feb. 14 2012 11:07 AM
antonio from bayside

I know I may sound like an armchair analyst but I remember a guard (who is asian) that played with Keith Van Horn in college and he (to me) was exact clone of Kendell Gill...To be honest he was kind of a project, but sometimes I think guys don't get a second look that other might get...

Feb. 14 2012 11:06 AM
Lady G from the 8th dimension

My advice, stolen from the movie "Mary and Max," :

I will now follow with a shameless plug for my blog

Feb. 14 2012 11:00 AM

re: your poll. Next time don’t forget the fourth option

4) don’t care. I never heard of him.

the world is still falling apart right?

Feb. 14 2012 10:33 AM
antonio from bayside

Lin Skywalker...or Obi Lin Kenobi...

Feb. 14 2012 10:32 AM
JT from LI

How do you know that Lin is only an average player?

I think the question is was Lin always underestimated because of his ethnicity or did he change his mindset when he was thrust upon the stage?

Feb. 14 2012 10:15 AM
George from Brooklyn

Although I am a Chinese-American person, I feel Jeremy Lin is a fluke who will regress to the mean. He is like Sam Fuld, who was spectacular for a few weeks last season but returned to earth. Breakout performances from average players are usually not sustainable.

Feb. 14 2012 07:03 AM

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