We all know Lin from the “Linsanity” moment of a few years back, but one thing I’ve always found interesting about Lin is, apart from being an NBA superstar, he’s also a big YouTube star, which is unusual. The only other NBA-affiliated person I’ve seen on YouTube is Steph Curry’s wife Ayesha, who has a lifestyle vlogging channel, “Little Lights of Mine.” I’m surprised more NBA stars haven’t utilized the power of YouTube to connect with their fans. From a marketing standpoint, it makes Lin seem even more approachable and more like “a man of the people” than, say, a LeBron James.
Another thing I’ve found interesting about Lin is his awareness of just how much racial bias has played into his career. As he said in this 2012 MSG Network interview when asked why he might have been overlooked in the NBA, “First of all, being an Asian American, obviously you’re not going to be able to only prove yourself and have people believe [in you] only because of the way I look. It’s going to have to be again and again and again.”
(Here’s the whole interview, in case you want to see it for yourself)
Of course, what he means is that there’s a triple standard against him and players like him. America expects white and black players to be able to be great at the game of basketball, but there’s so little representation of Asian talent across the pop culture board, not just in basketball, that a bias is created, leading people to just believe Asian Americans can’t play basketball or do other things like become a popular American pop singer (this could get into a completely different post about proliferation of Psy and the worry that he only became an American sensation because he unwittingly fit an American stereotype of a goofy Asian man, but that’s for another day).
The one thing I hope for is that there will eventually more NBA players like Lin. More NBA players with Asian backgrounds are in the NBA and are coming up, and I think that’s great, since for a while, Lin was the only one representing the broad, diverse Asian community in basketball. I’m ready to see more Asian backcourts and frontcourts (if “frontcourt” is the correct terminology; I just watch basketball, I don’t play it).
What do you love about Jeremy Lin and his career? Sound off below!
Promo picture from Charlotte Hornets’ Facebook page