The emergence of Jeremy Lin is just another classic case of the underdog surpassing the expectations of everyone that watched him and the NBA from afar. What many fail to realize, is those close to Jeremy, himself included always felt the expectations were not high enough for the Harvard grad.
Talented Asians blazing trails through Ivy League schools is by no means uncommon. Doing so in basketball and then actually getting better at the next level is far from normal.
The National basketball Association has been dominated by African Americans for more than four decades. So much that white ball players, who once populated the league completely are the minority. In steps Lin, who is the first ever American of Chinese descent. To clarify there are other Chinese Americans of Chinese descent. Example, Yao Ming.
The New York Knickerbockers have won eight of their last ten and rank second in the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference. The Knicks have finished above .500 one time in a decade and have only posted two playoff appearances in that time frame.
Maybe that is the reason for the craze around Jeremy Lin. Or maybe, just maybe it’s because Lin is NOT supposed to be doing this. He is not suppose to succeed in a game where most tower over him, where the average baller rocks more tattoos then he has pre-2012 autographs distributed. A game that casual fans and passer-bys didn’t think it was possible for a Asian kid to set the court on fire.
If there’s anyone not named Lin or residing in the New York area, that also is ecstatic to see J Lin rise to fame; It would be David Stern, who most know, is one smart cookie. His fortunes have changed along with Jeremy’s. Miami Vice gripped the NBA for a bit, and now is losing it’s luster. Lebron James’ skill set is sadly turning Dwayne Wade into a glorified wing man. Kobe Bryant is still Kobe Bryant, but his ability to put a team on his back and lead them to a Title may be a thing of the past. Either way, Kobe is old news and the new news is not very gripping.
It seems that no matter how shallow the average American may actually be, we can almost all set aside our own stereotypes, hypocrisies, preconceived notions, hesitancy to open up and step away from the norm, even if just for a bit, and root for the underdog, especially when they are different from what we are accustomed to.
So why is it, when Americans smell blood, we attack like no other? Lin has an overwhelming amount of turnovers. He has not hit every game winning shot and he will not be the Most Valuable Player this season, and the likeliness is, he never will be. But he is an excellent addition to a team that plays on the biggest stage and has not delivered a worthwhile product to the New York faithful in several years.
The NBA may have more talented, purely athletic players then we have ever seen, but there is not one that carries the star-power potential that Jeremy Lin does. And why? It’s pretty simple. DIVERSITY. Lin offers a crossover appeal that the likes of Tiger Woods once did. Like Tiger, as soon as Lin becomes irrelevant his failures will become very relevant, and that’s when the “Told you so’s” will occupy the media.
We will all wait and see how this story ends, but barring injury and as long as the return of superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire don’t affect his game play, we can anticipate, that there won’t be a drop off in assist and likely an increase. Lin’s point production should diminish a bit and Melo is widely considered one of the best clutch players in the league, so if you’re expecting more game winning shots from the Asian Invasion, that may be few and far between.
Hopefully the public will eventually just let the kid play and not dissect his every move. We have a habit of treating our overnight heroes like the Taliban when they locate Earth. Short of Tim Tebow, no one has gripped the sports nation in recent memory like J Lin has, and if his support group and talent level have anything to say about it, he will be productive for some time, but I wouldn’t expect headline news too much longer.