Many are familiar with racial prejudice in sports, here in America. Basketball especially, has a racial aura around it. Many expect African Americans to be duly equipped to play the sport, whereas other races such as Caucasians and Asians are thought to be inferior players. Jeremy Lin is a great example of someone who breaks this racially biased barrier. As an Asian American youth, Jeremy Lin’s skill in the sport of basketball was largely ignored. Instead of cultivating what was obviously his budding potential, he was often encouraged to play the piano, hone his mathematical skills, or to do just about anything else. Jeremy’s love and passion for the sport ended up outweighing the doubts of others, and he was able to play in highschool and college. Jeremy’s college career was typical of that of an individual of a minority group striving to be apart of a sport dominated by other ethnic groups. Often he was asked “Can you even see the scoreboard?” or “Your eyes are too low to see the three point line” but Jeremy’s spirit and passion for the game was no match for these remarks. Lin later makes a statement that sums up his philosophy in life and his journey through playing professional basketball. He says: “I know that, because of my race, I’ll have to work twice as hard to prove myself, yet my goal is not to prove myself to anyone, but to play the sport the best that I possibly can.”
Jeremy Lin’s participation in the NBA, and the resistance he received is part of a bigger question than just one man playing ball. It brings up the question, why are Asian Americans and other ethnic groups discouraged because of the hegemonic views of dominant ethnic groups? Even in spite of his skill, the views of the dominant ethnic groups influenced his family’s faith in his abilities, as well as his peers and early coaches. Jeremy Lin’s story shows that if you have the passion and work ethic to follow through on your dreams, than you can make them happen, despite the views of anyone. Jeremy Lin eventually went to Harvard and led them to their best season despite the racially charged remarks he received by his peers. and after dealing with racial slurs and warming the bench because of a knee injury, he eventually received almost a 2 million dollar contract offer from the Rockets. This proved that Jeremy lin, not only persevered through the doubts of former teammates, coaches, family members, and peers; he became a highly valuable asset to the NBA and was valued by many in the game.
Jeremy’s story should be an eye opener for America. He literally shows us that our stereotypes and judgements we make about people based on their race hold no weight at all. Jeremy shows us that we need to stop making judgements based on race, and open our eyes to the individual. He shows us how easy it is for society to believe the views of the dominant, majority class without having the decency and courage to be different, and to judge not before we see for ourselves. Jeremy Lin has become an American icon, despite the doubts and racially charged remarks hurled his way, and his story should serve as inspiration for a better, more decent America. He shows us that hard work, determination, and faith clearly outweighs the views of our peers, and that the people who doubted him clearly weren’t looking with their eyes. The most beautiful thing about Lin’s story was that, he did not have to go around saying “I’m going to be a star” or “I’m going to be the best in NBA”. He had enough humility and passion for this game of basketball to speak with his actions, and to show people what he could do, despite their racially charged viewpoints. He gives us a lesson through his hard work, he shows America the potential of the human being regardless of race.