Asian Americans, the “model minority”, are known to be the academically successful individuals in society. Despite being the top of their class, Asian Americans are never the leaders, never the well known individuals in different areas of society. This is why when Jeremy Lin, a California born and raised Asian American, was drafted into the NBA and broke records, he not only made an impact in NBA history, but in Asian American history as well.
Jeremy Lin was born and raised in Palo Alto, California, a suburb located in Northern California. He was raised in a Taiwanese American family with two other brothers, who shared his passion for basketball. In the documentary, Linsanity, childhood videos were shown of the Lin brothers’ upbringing. Like any other Asian American family, studies were put before basketball. However, as soon as they were done with homework, the Lin brothers always went out to play basketball. In the eyes of American society, Asian American parents are believed to emphasize on the importance of academic success and not allow any other activities that might hinder their studies. In contrast to this belief, Jeremy Lin’s parents were very supportive towards their sons’ passions especially when they saw how good Jeremy was at basketball. Later on in the documentary when Jeremy Lin visited Taiwan, it was apparent that he also did not know how to speak Chinese. Through the documentary, although Jeremy Lin was clearly Asian American, he defied the stereotypical Asian American image by being raised in a family that defied the Asian American stereotype. He not only did not know how to speak Chinese, but his Asian American parents (who are often seen as tiger parents) did not force academia on him and instead encouraged Lin in pursuing his passion.
Throughout high school and college, Jeremy Lin was one of the top players on his team. He won multiple games through his determination and skills which attracted a few NBA coaches. Despite attracting multiple coaches, it took Lin many tries and hard work to be drafted. Even when he was finally drafted, Lin was rarely on court, playing games. It was not until his season with the New York Knicks that he was given a chance to play and show his true colors. Lin had one chance to prove himself, otherwise, he would be immediately dropped from the New York Knicks after the season ended. From that one chance he was given, Lin continuously made shots and assists that allowed the New York Knicks go from losing consecutive games to a winning streak. News and social media was blowing up through the breakthrough of Jeremy Lin. Not only was he making NBA history, he was also breaking records as an Asian American. Asian Americans all over the US and Asians all over the world were cheering on this newcomer who was sweeping through media with his record breaking scores.
Even though he was making headlines, there were still critics doubting his skills. Some people including Kobe Bryant believed that he was a one-time wonder but yet, Jeremy Lin continued helping the New York Knicks win. Unfortunately, Lin’s wins were short-lived. Despite not making headlines anymore like he used to, Lin is still an Asian American who made history in an industry other than academia. Thus, as Asian Americans, we should follow his example. Asian Americans who have made an impact in other industries have been able to branch out of the stereotypical Asian American image. Future generations should work towards pursuing their passions while also raising a family where passions are fully encouraged. By expanding our influence on different industries in American society, we can bring attention to Asian Americans and potentially have a larger voice in society. Throughout history, we have large history in the United States, but never have we spoke loudly enough to fight the stereotypes and discrimination we are faced with. By following Jeremy Lin’s example along with many others, we can change history and fight the stereotype of the submissive and hypersexualized Asian American.