I’m not a big basketball fan. Never have been and probably never will be. But because I write for a living, I try to keep up with everything that’s going on in the world. Last night, I sat next to a guy at one of my favorite restaurants. I engaged him in conversation about his new Samsung phone, found out that he was an engineer for the nuclear industry, and was able to talk about the new Vogtle nuclear plants that will be coming online in Georgia in a few years.
But back to basketball.
Jeremy Lin is the newest sport phenomenon. He’s a point guard for the New York Knicks. He’s Harvard educated and was not drafted out of college. In fact, he didn’t receive a scholarship out of high school. He sat on the bench for the Knicks until about a week ago. Lin is one of the few Asian Americans in NBA history, and the first American player in the league to be of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
His high school coach envisioned big things for Lin, so he registered the name “Linsanity.com.” Here’s the latest Tebow-like finish for Lin and why the crowds are pumped and the NBA is getting an infusion of fan-based enthusiasm for the game:
New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin celebrates with teammate Tyson Chandler after his game winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The Knicks won 90-87.
So why all the attention? Who is Jeremy Lin, and why are so many people fascinated with the guy?
Lin grew up in a Christian family. “Lin would one day like to be a pastor who can head up non-profit organizations, either home or abroad. He has also talked of working in inner-city communities to help with underprivileged children. Lin's younger brother, Joseph, plays basketball for Hamilton College. Lin's older brother, Josh, is a dental student at New York University.” In a word, Lin is not your typical basketball player. He’s not tattooed and doesn’t act like a thug.
“In a video interview conducted by Elie Seckbach, he asked Lin how it felt to be representing so many people. Lin responded by stating, ‘It’s humbling, a privilege, and a honor. I’m really proud of being Chinese. I’m really proud of my parents being from Taiwan. I just thank God for the opportunity.’”
Lots of Americans are fed up with what’s happening in our nation. Most are afraid to say anything for fear of being labeled as this or that.
So when people like Tebow and Lin come around, people express their approval in vocal ways. They are for Lin because of what he stands for. They're for him because he represents something that has been lost. These people are the real America. They give me hope, so much so that I might start watching a few basketball games.