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Jeremy Lin Explains College, NBA 'Barriers' Caused by Asian 'Stereotype'

( [email protected] ) Apr 06, 2013 12:36 PM EDT
Lin, the first Chinese-American to be play in NBA, and NBA commissioner David Stern said that Lin’s failure to get a major college basketball scholarship or a roster spot through the NBA draft had to do with his Asian ethnicity.
Jeremy Lin thinks he would have been offered a Division I basketball scholarship -- if he wasn't Asian American. Paola Kudacki/GQ

Jeremy Lin has proven his game to media sports writers and those watching him play since his rise to fame while playing for New York Knicks until now. As CBS sports NBA writer puts it, "Linsanity wasn't just a flash in a pan thing", but he can actually play and is good.

Lin, the first Chinese-American to be play in NBA, and NBA commissioner David Stern said that Lin’s failure to get a major college basketball scholarship or a roster spot through the NBA draft had to do with his Asian ethnicity.

CBS’s 60 Minutes will do a report on Lin’s story Sunday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT, where the Houston Rocket’s point guard sits down and discusses his rags to riches story and his stellar performance that caused the “Linsanity” phenomenon, and the racial obstacles he’s had to overcome.

When playing for High School, Lin led his Palo Alto High School team to a 32-1 state championship winning season where he averaged 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals. He was chosen as California’s player of the year.

In the preview to Sunday’s interview, Charlie Rose asked Lin why he didn’t get a scholarship to nearby UCLA or Stanford. Lin replies, “Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian American which, you, is a whole different issue but…I think that was a barrier.”

“I mean...it’s just a stereotype,” Lin said simply. He believes that if he were a black or white player, he would have gotten a scholarship to his dream school, Stanford. However, he went to Harvard instead, where no athletic sponsorship were given, and was a standout in Division I program.

Upon graduation, the six-foot-four-inch guard wasn’t drafted by any of the NBA’s 32 teams in 2011. He was forced to enter NBA the hard way, through a summer league. Playing as bench player for Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, he was then signed by New York Knicks for its bench.

As a devout evangelical Christian, Lin attributed the breakout of “Linsanity” as God’s plan. Through substituting for injured stars, he was given the chance to play and he took full advantage of that and gave a series of stellar performance that brought New York City, the media capital of the world, and then world to its feet.

60 Minutes also spoke with Lin’s parents.


Jeremy Lin at the 2012 Time 100 Gala.