Slurs and stereotypes: why US pro athletics tournaments paucity Asian American starrings

Jeremy Lins dominance of the NBA turned out to be brief. But athletes dont need to play for huge squads to prove their worth

I‘ll always remember 14 February 2012, partly because it was my birthday but also because America was in the clutch of Linsanity, a dazzling two-week interval during which Jeremy Lin was one of the world’s better basketball players. That period, Lin hoisted up a three-pointer with experience winding down against the Toronto Raptors.

Yes, that tournament.

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

Race and plays

Injuries and an unavoidable loss of shape- even LeBron James would have struggled to maintain Lin’s level of play over those two weeks- symbolizes Linsanity is like a distant recollection. But it creates a few questions: will an Asian American superstar ever grace the spotlight in one of North America’s major athletics tournament like Lin did? And perhaps this time for more than 2 week? The refute feels as involved as the definitions contained in” 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 is how befuddled the media and general public were about him- Asian American players are rare in North America’s four biggest conferences, 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 inevitably come as a surprise. Historically speaking, there have been so few Asian Americans within the Big Four that often their mere proximity is news. Of route, there’s also the distinction between an Asian American player and an Asian participate. Yao Ming, for example, was an NBA icon, but he is Chinese , not American.

In refuting 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. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2017, Asian people 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 sports at the collegiate height, Asian Americans are vastly underrepresented. And since, in football and basketball at least, college is the gateway to professional boasts it’s easy to appreciate 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 gaps they often deal with — specially 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. Athletics took a backseat most of the time.

Stereotyping is a real problem too; it reminds me of when I played pick-up hoops at high school. Teens are ruthless and I’d hear far too often the sad” small-scale gazes” and “chopstick” jokes — which, in a basketball setting, attain no gumption anyway. It just fosters a young athlete to carry on playing- specially when some honestly speculate Asian Americans simply aren’t as sporting as other groups.

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

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

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