Noted cultural critic Floyd Mayweather waded into controversial territory with the Jeremy Lin story, tweeting that “all the hype is because he is Asian.”
Mayweather is wrong, partially. Some of the Jeremy Lin hype is, indeed, because he is Asian and not black or European white. We form subconscious preconceptions based on appearance and, thus, race. Lin, being Asian-American and not notably tall, does not fit the preconceptions of an NBA player. We tend to filter the familiar and fixate on novelty. Were he black or European this might not be as big of a story. Though, race is far from the only factor.
Some of it is because he played for Harvard. Professional athletes don’t generally come from Harvard. Some of it is because he went undrafted, was rejected by multiple teams and recently played for the Erie Bayhawks in the D-League. That’s an abnormal path to NBA stardom. Some of it is because the team he revitalized is the New York Knicks. Some of it is because, on its own merits, Lin’s rise is a weird, wonderful sports narrative.
Jeremy Lin’s explosion the past couple weeks came about from a confluence of factors. Crediting the most inflammatory one unduly is silly, but so ignoring it.
[Photo via Getty]
Previously: Jeremy Lin is the Fastest-Growing Athlete Brand in the World
Previously: Carmelo Anthony Refers to Jeremy Lin as the Knicks’ “Rudy”
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