“Linsanity” and Race

Jason Daugherty, American Renaissance, February 17, 2012

Is Jeremy Lin basketball's Tim Tebow?

I have a confession to make: I am a basketball fan. When I was growing up, many years before the realities of race entered my mind, my father bought season tickets to the New York Knicks, and I attended many games at Madison Square Garden for about seven years straight. Like most fans, I have been closely following the rapid ascendance of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.

Mr. Lin is a 23-year-old Harvard graduate who was passed over by all 30 NBA teams in the 2010 draft. After seeing only a few minutes of playing time in 29 games for the Golden State Warriors last season, Mr. Lin was booted from the Oakland-based squad. He was then picked up by the Houston Rockets, who cut him just days later. Afterward, Mr. Lin joined the New York Knicks, making the team only because so many Knicks players were injured. Mr. Lin was used sparingly in nine of the Knicks’ first 23 games this season. He was also sent to the NBA Developmental League for one game, but was called back after a good performance. Mr. Lin’s first meaningful minutes were played against the Boston Celtics on Friday, February 3rd. The following night in a game against New Jersey, “Linsanity” began.

Jeremy Lin

Mr. Lin came off the bench that night to score 25 points, hand out seven assists, and grab five rebounds, leading the Knicks to victory. Two days later, he got his first NBA start, and paired 28 points of his own with 8 assists for another Knicks win. In the next four games—all W’s for the Knicks—Mr. Lin put up scoring totals of 23, 38, 20, and 27, while averaging 9 assists per game. In one game, he hit the winning shot with 0.9 seconds left on the clock. This Wednesday, Mr. Lin scored 10 points and registered a career-high 13 assists, as the Knicks romped Sacramento.

“Linsanity” has truly swept America. Jeremy Lin has certainly been the biggest non-Tebow sports story in years, and arguably the biggest professional basketball story in decades. He has single-handedly resurrected an underachieving Knicks team, filled Madison Square Garden, and reignited the interest of many apathetic NBA fans. “Linsanity” has accurately been compared to the “Tebowmania” of the past NFL season, though Mr. Lin’s feats may be even more impressive.

What does race have to do with this? Mr. Lin is an American-born Asian. In fact, he is the first American-born player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent in the 65-year history of the NBA. And because Asians are so rare in basketball, race has been a common theme in Mr. Lin’s career, even before he got to Harvard. Mr. Lin himself suggested that some colleges refused to recruit him because of his race: “I do think (my ethnicity) did affect the way coaches recruited me. I think if I were a different race, I would’ve been treated differently.” Mr. Lin also called basketball, “a sport for white and black people.” He is not the only ethnic Asian who recognizes racial stereotypes in hoops. Former NBA player Rex Walters, a Japanese-American, says this: “It’s an Asian thing. People who don’t think stereotypes exist are crazy. If he’s white, he’s either a good shooter or heady. If he’s Asian, he’s good at math. We’re not taking him.”

Mr. Lin has faced frequent racial scorn during his young career—from opponents, fans, the news media, and even athletes from different sports. He has been jeered with taunts of “go back to China,” “open your eyes,” and “orchestra is on the other side of campus.” He has been referred to as “wonton soup” and “sweet and sour pork.” An opponent in the Ivy League once called him a chink, and when he showed up at a Pro-Am basketball game in San Francisco, Mr. Lin was reportedly told, “Sorry sir, there’s no volleyball here tonight.” Even the New York Knicks home TV station, MSG Network, got in on the act by airing an image of Lin with a broken fortune cookie that read “The Knicks Good Fortune.” MSG later claimed the image was of a sign that a fan had brought to the arena.

In just the past week, Mr. Lin has received two racial taunts. The first was from black Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock. While Mr. Lin was torching Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers for 38 points last Friday, Mr. Whitlock tweeted “some lucky lady in NYC is gonna feel a couple inches of pain tonight,” and was roundly condemned by the Asian American Journalists Association. Three nights later, black professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. tweeted, “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.”

The second sentence in Mr. Mayweather’s tweet is simply wrong. Black players do not do what Mr. Lin has done “every night.” In fact, Mr. Lin scored more points in his first five games as a starter than any player since the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association back in 1976. Furthermore, the fact that Mr. Lin went undrafted and was cut by two teams in a span of two weeks makes his feats all the more remarkable.

Although Mr. Mayweather is wrong when he says, “all the hype is because [Lin] is Asian,” Mr. Lin’s ethnicity is certainly a big part of what attracts fans. It would be the same if an unknown black hockey player suddenly went on a scoring spree. Any time a player does something racially unexpected, race will be part of the reaction.

But there is more to “Linsanity” than point totals and race. Mr. Lin is admired because he is such a pleasant change from the black-dominated thuggery that prevails in the NBA. Two years ago, black NBA players Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenden brought loaded guns into a locker room at the Verizon Center in D.C. In October, 2006, Indiana Pacers guard Stephen Jackson fired 9-millimeter rounds from his handgun in a dispute outside an Indianapolis strip club. And many will remember the ugly Pacers-Pistons brawl in Detroit’s home arena in 2004, which resulted in Stephen Jackson, Ron Artest, and Jermaine O’Neal punching several fans, on the court and in the stands.

During the last few decades, many black NBA players have gotten into trouble with the law. On-court fights and brawls happen fairly often, and foul language is commonplace. Mr. Lin, with his Asian roots and tattoo-less arms, is the antithesis of the NBA thug life. He is well-spoken, well-educated, and selflessly showers his teammates with praise. Like Mr. Tebow, Mr. Lin’s open religious devotion increases and intensifies his fan base. At the same time, black players, sportswriters, and media commentators recognize what Mr. Lin represents, and this is why many of them cannot stand him. Jeremy Lin calls attention to the poor behavior, poor English, and boorishness of black athletes and much of the larger black community.

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Jason Daugherty
Mr. Daugherty studied history at the University of Cincinnati. He lives in Baltimore County, Maryland, and enjoys golf and hiking.
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  • Anonymous

    He’s a welcome relief from the typical NBA star.

    But the larger issue, and the one pertinent to AmRen readers, is the racial realism we see in sports.  Columnists, fans, and players alike understand that certain sports (and certain positions in sports) tend to draw athletes from a particular race.  For instance, the fast-paced, up-and-down style of basketball bodes well for exceptional and well-built black athletes.  Baseball, particularly hitting and pitching, is slower-paced and has allowed peoples of all races to excel; however whites make up the majority of excellent pitchers in the majors.

    In football, the majority of star quarterbacks are white.  Brady, Manning(s), Rodgers, Rivers, Ryan, Romo, Stafford, Roethlisberger, and Cutler are all at least above average statistically–and white.  Only Mike Vick and perhaps Cam Newton are black QBs with above-average marks, but neither have been overly successful.  In golf, aside from Woods, Vijay Singh, and a few Asian players; the winners are whites from the US, Australia, England, Scotland, Europe, S. Africa, or Ireland.  While money may be a barrier to entry in golf, patience and hard work is awarded much more highly in the sport than natural athletic talent–which favors whites.

    Stereotypes are true for a reason, in sports and in life.  Many people recognize this.  The trick for us is to translate this message to change policy goals.  Just like NBA teams made the brash but calculated decision that Jeremy Lin couldn’t play at the NBA level because of his race–which is normally TRUE–Americans politicians should make the calculated decision to reduce immigration because most 3rd world immigrants from Latin America and African-based countries are more likely to commit violent crimes and add less to an economy by only having the mental capacities to take on menial jobs.  Will this mean that the US will miss out on a few talented and intelligent immigrants from the third world?  Yes.  But, on average, the country will be better as a whole because the exception is much rarer than the rule.

  • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

    He has been jeered with taunts of “go back to China,” “open your eyes,”
    and “orchestra is on the other side of campus.” He has been referred to
    as “wonton soup” and “sweet and sour pork.”

    That has not been corroborated, those are only accusations.  This supposedly happened while he was at Harvard.  You mean to tell me that Harvard is full of racial bigotry?

    What’s behind the fascination with Jeremy Lin?  Easy answer:  He’s a good “Chicken Soup for the Soul” story.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aunti-Occupy/100003232140389 Aunti Occupy

       Blacks are so full of fried chicken and water mellon they always lose when playing some European or South American team. 

  • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

    One of the articles I read made that accusation.  Even if it happened on the road, I highly doubt fans of a team Harvard would play in an away game (many of those would be other Ivy League schools) would do that.

  • Anonymous

    If you see too many members of your race excelling in a sport, that might not be a good thing. Take boxing for instance. Larry Merchant once called it “the sport of the dispossessed,” and he’s right. Aside from an occassional Marco Antonio Barrera, most boxers come from the very bottom rungs of society (most people are not going to absorb blows for a living when other avenues are open). When Julio Caesar Chavez was asked if he wanted his sons to grow up to be boxers, he responded, “No, I want them to have educations.”

    In the 20s and 30s, many of the top-flight boxers were Jews: Ketchel, Ross, Leonard, Attell, etc. They rose from the bottom strata and had no desire to go back. I know symbols are important to any movement, but our collective fate does not rise or fall on whether or not we excel at playing children’s games for millions of dollars in a Roman colliseum.

    • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

      I used to think that it would have been a good thing for schools to bring back boxing programs.  However, I started to doubt myself when I read this article in the local media:

      http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=202131&catid=3

      The only matter-of-fact thing in this article that is wrong is that Cory Spinks was among these thirty, and he isn’t dead or in prison, so that means that there were two out of the thirty who didn’t wind up in either place. 

      But the point remains — this program was organized and led by an ex-cop
      in the basement of a former police station.  If an ex-cop working out of an
      ex-cophouse can’t even keep 10% of his boys on the straight and narrow,
      maybe something is amiss.

      • Anonymous

        Speaking of the Spinks clan, Leon’s fall from grace was spectacular (even for a black athlete). He went from world class to literarily being a janitor.

    • Oil Can Harry

      And yet Chavez’s sons are boxers, correctly surmising they’ll make more $ with their hands than their heads.

      Speaking of pugilism and Hispanic Family Values, here’s how fans in Argentina reacted a few days ago when their hometown fighter got KOed by a Filipino:
      http://tinyurl.com/6ohppvs

  • Anonymous

    While I don’t follow the sport and I would show more interest had Mr. Lin been white, I always relish when blacks are slapped in the face by the diversity they shove down our throats.

    It will be fun to watch NBA scouts checking out the Asian market for talent. 

    Blacks will be the first to cry foul. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wayne-Leon-Engle/1625710108 Wayne Leon Engle

    Jeremy Lin has really opened the eyes of those who think only black thugs can play basketball. Jason Daugherty said some things in this article that needed to be said — but which would have probably gotten him banned if they appeared in an article in the mainstream media.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aunti-Occupy/100003232140389 Aunti Occupy

     Some years ago the US Dream Team,  the black dream team, played the Lithuanian team for the Gold.  The Lithuanian team towered over the Dream Team, out played them and would have won if the black American referees hadn’t called so may fouls against the Lithuanians.  The Dream Team only won in overtime by a few points.  Blacks are not the tallest men on earth, the men of Holland are the tallest and they know math too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephanie-Galonska/100000365443540 Stephanie Galonska

    Lin is tall and can play.  I wish him well.  You know who else I like?  That Jap Hot Dog Eater.  I can’t remember his name but he’s pretty snazzy too.  Almost beat a Bear once…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephanie-Galonska/100000365443540 Stephanie Galonska

    I used to be a Pittsburgh Fan.  Thirty Plus Years until vick (please Amren, do not Capitaize “vick”) was picked back up.

    I’m still a Fan, I just don’t watch anymore.

  • http://countenance.wordpress.com/ Question Diversity

    I do think that it can be taken too far, being a sports fan.  I have called football the opiate of the American white man, especially the southern white man, for a reason.

    My only real interest in basketball is if my gym has an open court, then I’ll play in an informal pickup game.  Even though I’m not any good.

    Also, last night, the Knicks lost for the first time since he was a starter, to one of the worst teams in the NBA, and at home.  Lin did get his points, but he also had 9 turnovers, and that’s his dark side — he’s a turnover machine.  That is one bad habit your starting one-guard better break and break in a hurry.

  • rentslave

    He should take another black man’s job-Obama’s by running for President this year.He meets 2 out of the three requirements,as does the current Harvard inhabitant.