Insinuations and stereotypes: why US pro sports tournaments lack Asian American virtuosoes

Jeremy Lins dominance of the NBA turned out to be brief. But athletes dont need to play for big units to demonstrate their worth

I‘ll ever remember 14 February 2012, partly because it was my birthday but also because America was in the traction of Linsanity, a brilliant two-week date during which Jeremy Lin was one of the world’s good basketball players. That era, Lin hoisted up a three-pointer with experience gale down against the Toronto Raptors.

Yes, that game.

The shot departed in and, as Lin celebrated wildly with his teammates, I was fascinated. Actors who looked like me weren’t supposed to be on NBA courtrooms, let alone reign them. For tens of thousands of kids like me around America, Lin’s emergence meant something.

Race and athletics

Injuries and an inevitable loss of formation- even LeBron James would have struggled to maintain Lin’s level of play over those two weeks- represents Linsanity is like a remote remembering. But it grows a question: will an Asian American superstar ever mercy the spotlight in one of North America’s major sports league like Lin did? And perhaps this time for more than two weeks? The reaction feels as involved as the definition of” Asian American ,” which varies from person-to-person, region-to-region.

It’s important to understand the uniqueness of Lin’s rise to stardom. Based on the Linsanity coverage, it’s easy to see how befuddled the means and general public was just about him- Asian American players are rare in North America’s four biggest tournaments, the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL. Insensitive Asian jokes became as commonplace as Lin’s gallants on the court, and “its easy to” to see how unprepared the US was for an Asian American superstar.

Though that shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Historically speaking, there have been so few Asian Americans within the Big Four that often their mere proximity is reports. Of direction, there’s also the distinction between an Asian American player and an Asian player. Yao Ming, for example, was an NBA icon, but he is Chinese , not American.

In reacting where all the Asian Americans are, though, it gets tricky. The NCAA has a database to track the demographics of student-athletes in the US( it’s worth noting that the NCAA distinguishes Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders from the Asian American category ). The statistics are telling:

* In baseball, of a total 34,980 student-athletes, 318 of them were Asian. About 0.9% of student-athletes.

* In football, of a total 73,057 student-athletes, 386 of them were Asian. About 0.53% of student-athletes.

* In basketball, of a total 18,712 student-athletes, 107 of them were Asian. About 0.57% of student-athletes.

* In hockey, of a total 4,197 student-athletes, 28 of them were Asian. About 0.67% of student-athletes.

Compare the data to the Asian American population of the United States. Harmonizing to the US Census Bureau, in 2017, Asian parties made up about 5.8% of the US population. It should be noted, though, it’s hard to differentiate Asian from Asian American in the data.

Looking at the raw data, especially among the Big Four athletics at the collegiate tier, Asian Americans are hugely underrepresented. And since, in football and basketball at the least, college is the gateway to professional athletics it’s easy to view why we’re still waiting for the next Lin.

A number of factors need to be considered as to why Asian Americans aren’t playing in these popular sports. Some will point to the culture differences they often is being dealt with — especially looking at education and a inclination for hard work. As a second-generation Asian American, education is of paramount importance at home and that was pounded into me. Plays took a backseat most of the time.

Stereotyping is a real problem extremely; it reminds me of when I played pick-up bands at high school. Teens are ruthless and I’d hear far too often the dreary” small-scale eyes” and “chopstick” jokes — which, in a basketball setting, prepare no feel anyway. It scarcely helps a young contestant to carry on playing- especially when some honestly believe Asian Americans simply aren’t as athletic as other groups.

Of course, away from the big-hearted pro athletics leagues Asian Americans have had success. Chloe Kim was one of the stars of the 2018 Winter Olympics. She has charisma as well as ability and it was little surprise to see her gracing the clothe of Sports Illustrated. The new US Open champion, Naomi Osaka, is a more liquid occasion. Her father and father-god are Japanese and Haitian respectively but she grew up in America. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics right around the corner, the spotlight will soon fall on her, and she will receive far more attention than she did after her US Open win, which was sadly overshadowed by disagreement around Serena Williams’s clash with an umpire.

And perhaps the examples of Kim, Osaka and male contestants like the uber-talented Nathan Chen show that success in the NFL or NBA isn’t everything.” Asian American” is an all-encompassing period and should be treated as such. An Asian American athlete doesn’t inevitably have to be a clone of Lin — East Asian, male and playing for a huge pro boasts unit — to be a star.

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