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Jeremy Lin

For those who are not into basketball, Jeremy Lin is a Chinese American who set the basketball world on fire 3 years ago. when on the verge of being cut, he helped to direct New York Knicks, with injuries on stars, and in desperation move by coach, starts a winning streak and coined the word “Linsanity”. His history was chronicled in a documentary called “Linsanity”. I am sure the director of the movie probably is accumulating additional footages for a new documentary. I hope this time he’ll examine Lin’s travails since with an eye on the question of race, model minority, and capitalism.
National Basketball Association, the major league of basketball in U.S. is a big business. Recently the Los Angeles Clippers, whose owner got into trouble with racial comments was sold for $2 billion. Star players get paid for over $100 million for 4 years contracts. With a new TV contract the salaries are expected to increase substantially due to revenue sharing. Lin is presently playing the last year of his 3 years, $25 million contract. Basketball is ostensibly a team sport, with coaches trying to manage egos of star players for team success. The most successful coaches like Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich can manage the tension between individual and team success. NBA, due various large and small markets, runs essentially as a socialistic entity, with limits of spending power to equalize the competition. NBA is also interested in expanding the market to China and the rest of the world.
As a lone Chinese American in NBA, Lin has many avid followers in internet discussion groups. They discuss his statistics and travails in subsuming his own game to appease the star of the team and coach. He is a humble and religious man and the perfect model minority. He manages to carved out a place due to his efforts and skills. Yet despite his attempt to fit in he’s been marginalize in his latest team, Los Angeles Lakers, and its aging star Kobe Bryan. He’s been relegated to the backup because he sometimes outshines Kobe despite the effort of the coach to limit his time on the court. He’s bewildered and some of his fans are turning against him, for not speaking out and stand his ground. When he was in Houston his teammate Asik asked to be traded when they sign a new star, broke their promise of he starting. And his new teammate Boozer walk out of the after game press conference when he was demoted to second team. Some of his fans deride him as weak, lack of spine, of not asserting himself, in other words as too perfect model minority. Lin is in a difficult position, and the mental strain is affecting his physical game. NBA is dominated by skill players of African Americans, with China being blamed for job losses here, Lin’s entrance to NBA is bother welcomed by Asia American community and viewed with suspicion by others. When China refused visa request by British Parliamentarians to investigate Hong Kong agreement, China was essentially telling them to f— off, and that was priceless that China can stand her ground. I wonder whether Lin can.

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  1. tc
    December 8th, 2014 at 18:19 | #1

    “… British Parliamentarians to investigate Hong Kong agreement …” — LOL.

    “to investigate?” What a joke?

  2. December 9th, 2014 at 09:38 | #2

    Chinese Americans are known to be “model minorities” for a reason. For the last century or so, each of us have turned to look to the West … to be non-Chinese … to join the rank of the Westerners.

    It’s true for us as individuals … and for us as a nation and even (arguably) civilization.

    Things are finally changing on the national and civilization level. But I wonder if it’s too much to ask for individuals to stand up against the tide. Each of us – as individual human beings – is weak. We make do. We make a living. We try to provide for our children.

    Besides, Lin doesn’t even speak Chinese (at least not fluently). He may be seen as an Asian player, but let’s not make him more than he is. He is born in the U.S., grew up here, is thoroughly an American. He is Asian/Chinese with the context of being an American … not the other way around (being an American in the context of being Chinese/Asian).

  3. United Chinese Diaspora
    December 11th, 2014 at 16:58 | #3

    I can sympathize with Jeremy Lin, I have the same problem at work.

    In a democracy, my voice is lacking. There is nothing I can do if I do good work my efforts are credited to someone else.

  4. United Chinese Diaspora
    December 14th, 2014 at 13:04 | #4

    In my last job, I remembered I completed a project with excellent results while many of my colleagues struggled with delay problems. And this was exceptional because this project was especially difficult. In the past I have always done a good job but this was what distinguished above the rest.

    So when the final assessment was made on all the projects, my project was very well competed while others were only 70% done. My boss instead of congratulating me for a job well done, he said that everybody’s done a great job and left it at that.

    Usually he would single out the best job and congratulated that person in front of everybody.

    And the next day, on a new project, I made an error that was later corrected by myself and my boss told me, ” oh, you are not perfect after all.”

    There is this sense of jealousy or maybe a sense of superiority that white people feel that Chinese people should always be below them even though it is proven time and again that we are just human beings like them. We make mistakes as well as accomplishments.

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