Jeremy Lins dominance of the NBA turned out to be brief. But athletes dont need to play for immense crews to testify their worth
I‘ll always remember 14 February 2012, partly because it was my birthday but too because America was in the grip of Linsanity, a stunning two-week point during which Jeremy Lin was one of the world’s good basketball players. That daylight, Lin hoisted up a three-pointer with day winding down against the Toronto Raptors.
The shot extended in and, as Lin celebrated wildly with his teammates, I was mesmerized. Actors who looked like me weren’t supposed to be on NBA courtrooms, let alone dominate them. For several tens of thousands of kids like me around America, Lin’s emergence meant something.
Injuries and an unavoidable loss of kind- even LeBron James would have struggled to maintain Lin’s level of play over those two weeks- signifies Linsanity feels like a distant storage. But it invokes a question: will an Asian American superstar ever grace the spotlight in one of North America’s major sports tournament like Lin did? And perhaps this time for more than 2 week? The reaction 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 means and general public was just 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 heroics on special courts, 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 merely attendance is words. Of direction, there’s also the distinction between an Asian American player and an Asian musician. Yao Ming, for example, was an NBA icon, but he is Chinese , not American.
In answering 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 person of the United States. Harmonizing 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 plays at the collegiate grade, Asian Americans are vastly underrepresented. And since, in football and basketball at least, college is the gateway to professional athletics it’s easy to read 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 favourite sports. Some will point to the cultural changes they often deal with — specially looking at education and a propensity for hard work. As a second-generation Asian American, education is of paramount importance at home and that was pounded into me. Boasts took a backseat most of the time.
Stereotyping is a real problem more; it reminds me of when I played pick-up hoops at high school. Teens are ruthless and I’d hear far too often the dire” small-time seeings” and “chopstick” jokes — which, in a basketball setting, obligate no gumption regardless. It just inspires a young player to carry on playing- especially when some honestly believe Asian Americans exactly aren’t as athletic as other groups.
Of course, away from the big pro boasts conferences Asian Americans have had success. Chloe Kim was one of the stars of the 2018 Winter Olympics. She has charisma as well as knowledge and it was little surprise to see her gracing the spread of Sports Illustrated. The new US Open champion, Naomi Osaka, is a more flowing occurrence. 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 soon fall on her, and she will receive far more attention than she did after her US Open win, which was unhappily overshadowed by disagreement around Serena Williams’s clash with an umpire.
And perhaps the examples of Kim, Osaka and male athletes like the uber-talented Nathan Chen show that success in the NFL or NBA isn’t everything.” Asian American” is an all-encompassing word 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 boasts team — to be a star.
Read more: www.theguardian.com