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Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 at 10:05 am  |  88 responses

Jeremy Lin Feels He Must Prove Himself on the Court Because He’s Asian


Jeremy Lin opens up to GQ about his incredible ascension and the fame he gained last season. Lin also talks about the challenges he faces as an Asian baller: “The key part of Lin’s story, the reason the world was so inspired by him, was that he was never really given a chance. He was undrafted out of college and spent a year-plus in the Development League or at the very end of an NBA bench. ‘I’m going to be honest, playing in D-League games is tough,’ he says. ‘We got way more fans at Harvard games. It feels like a demotion, and it feels like if you have one bad game then the thought gets in your brain: I might get cut.’ Lin felt this acutely. He tells me, to my shock, that when he graduated from Harvard in 2010 and wasn’t selected in the NBA Draft, he decided that if it turned out that he needed to play overseas (as is commonplace for those who don’t make the NBA), he was going to give himself one more year, and then he would quit and get a real job. ‘I absolutely would not have liked playing in Spain or somewhere like that, so I was just gonna do it a year,’ he says. ‘Then I was gonna be done.’ As a Harvard graduate, I ask him, what would you have done instead? He laughs. ‘I have no idea, man.’ Lin really was that close to hanging up his sneakers at 23. You might think his race has something to do with those perceived limitations after turning pro; Lin certainly does: ‘If I can be honest, yes. It’s not even close to the only reason, but it was definitely part of the reason.’ And it didn’t end with Linsanity. ‘There’s a lot of perceptions and stereotypes of Asian-Americans that are out there today, and the fact that I’m Asian-American makes it harder to believe, even crazier, more unexpected,’ he says. ‘I’m going to have to play well for a longer period of time for certain people to believe it, because I’m Asian. And that’s just the reality of it.’ It’s not all that dissimilar from what Yao Ming went through. ‘When Yao came out his rookie year as the first pick of the Draft, you have Charles Barkley saying, ‘If he scores seventeen points in a game, I’m going to kiss a donkey’s butt,’ Lin says. ‘If you do it for long enough, I think you would get the respect.’”

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  • upnorthboss

    mannnn asians always bitchin about how hard it is to be asian…..get over it

  • Ismael Sandiego

    No Jeremy, You must prove yourself coz of that FAT contract. Stop using the race card man. Good move by the Knicks not singing him long term.

  • http://twitter.com/GRenaissance19 William

    And the blacks are always bitching about welfare and food stamps. What’s your point.

  • T-Money

    you mean longer than 25 games? yeah, probably.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    When have you ever heard black people b*tch about welfare and food stamps? That comment was stupid

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Jeremy, its not about your race at this point. It’s about proving you’re as good as all the hype you received during that run last season. You just signed a huge contract, not because you were Asian, but because Houston believed you were that good. I understand your way of thinking, but it’s simply time to show and prove!

  • spit hot fiyah

    don’t go there, both of you

  • vtrobot

    To all the people saying that he’s making it too much about race. 1) He was talking about the time BEFORE he signed the contract. 2) He said “It’s not even close to the only reason, but it was definitely part of the reason.” PART. Not the whole thing. Jesus Christ, please read. Yes, NOW of course being as valuable at that contract is most of what he needs to prove. 3) Unless you’re an Asian NBA point guard, who was temporarily hyped as much as Muhammad Ali, you might not be able to relate (F me, who else gets back-to-back SI covers?). Peace.

  • Redd

    Wow you’re an idiot.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Jeremy Lin wasn’t bitching about how hard it is to be Asian, he was simply saying that there are pre-conceived notions about Asians which he has had to dispel and still faces today. There has yet to be an Oriental player in the NBA who wasn’t 7’6 that has made an impact on the league. Him being Asian is a blessing (marketing) and a curse (stereotypes). Whether you admit it or not, your achievements and failures are magnified when you’re the minority in your expertise (Tiger, Eminem, The Fresh Prince of Belair).

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    So did Charles Barkley ever end up kissing a donkey’s butt?

  • http://twitter.com/GRenaissance19 William

    The Media, made him into the hype he is. The rockets offered him 25 mil, it wasn’t him who demanded the salary. So, why does he have to prove anything to anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    cosign.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Think Darko and Greg Oden! Theres a certain expectation when you are put in certain positions. As high draft picks, they were expected to produce no matter what! When they dont, they get destroyed in the media. Same goes for Lin. You have to prove you weren’t a flash in the pan. Doesnt matter if the media hyped him or not. You accepted that huge contract; now you have to prove you were worth it!

  • bike

    Considering how fast and the way he rose to brief stardom last year, some self-doubt is bound to creep into his psych. I really hope we don’t start hearing a list of excuses out of him—he’s Asian, his knee still bothers him, he’s in a different system, etc. Plenty of players have to deal with stereotypes and high expectations so Lin’s not alone.

  • TBRK

    get ‘eem outta here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-Torres/732196580 Luis Torres

    Lin do not have to prove anything, he just need to maintain that emotion throughout the games

  • nick

    As long as china is ruling the world, Lin will be making the rockets an absolute fortune, no matter how well he plays, THAT is why they signed him such a high contract…

  • nick

    lmao priceless…

  • A.dawson

    Jeremy Lin doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. But if he were to put up 50 points a night haters would say he still not talented. It does not matter how he plays people can’t get past his race. Because if he were black they would all say “wow what a up incoming star”. You know I’m right. It’s ok though people in the days judged ” black” quarterbacks harsh in the days because their were so few. Ask Warren Moon and Doug Williams. There will be more Chinese people joining the nba in the near future since its their favorite sport!!!! Get use to it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! N

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Race is a part of everything. Lin got targeted for being Asian and he got hyped. Same thing happens to white cats in the NBA and black people in tennis.

  • A.dawson

    and that N was a slip of my typing ! Sorry!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Your hood is showing. And your cowardice.

  • Cory

    “Jeremy Lin Feels He Must Prove Himself on the Court ‘Because He’s Asian’”? Who’s the writer? Man! You’re dirty and disgusting for the last 3 words.

  • zogs19994

    WHEN I CLOSE MY EYES I BECOME JEREMY LIN
    #LITERALLY

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    Oh wow this thread was looking very mature and intellectual….
    And now it’s gone.

  • zogs19994

    OK PERRY THE PLATYPTERANODON

  • Perry the PlatyPteranodon

    You know you can turn the caps lock off and type like a functional human being. :D

  • Max

    They should bring that clip of him saying that up on tnt.

  • Max

    That was kinda funny lol

  • shockexchange

    You are exactly right. The reality is that Lin piqued the interest of Asian fans who may not have been interested otherwise. However, if “black people in tennis” were as overpaid as Lin is this year, all H-E-L-L would break loose and the media would not be so kind about it.

  • LakeShow

    Co-Sign.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ Nick Tha Quick

    He did. Too lazy to find the clip but it’s out there. Kenny had them bring in a donkey on the set.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Nah, buddy. If he was black, they’d say he was Flip Murray.
    Lin is like the white cat at the playground. He might not get picked up initially, but everybody assumes he can shoot.
    Or like Rudy Fernandez getting hyped for being “athletic” when he probably wasn’t even in the top quarter of NBA athletes.
    Or Brent Barry winning the dunk contest.
    If you are unusual you will get more attention. Some of that attention will be positive and some will be negative. Lin got a decent mixture of responses. Honestly, the overwhelming response was positive.

  • bike

    Tiger Woods

  • Salty

    No he made the hype happen when he started balling out of control. And his entire career he will have to prove something to everyone, that’s not going away. That’s because we judge a player based on their career, not a part of a season.

  • Salty

    How could anyone argue that race played a part? But it’s just a numbers game: how many Asians are there in the NBA who are really making noise? The Asian puns and all that got out of control, but he is a unique individual for the NBA: an Asian-American, Harvard grad….doesn’t come along often.

  • Salty

    Argue that race *didn’t* play a part. Sorry, I for one am not a Harvard grad.

  • Salty

    He’s not using the race card, he’s using logic. But it has more to do with the media’s laziness than some sort of racism. He’s a unique player, and has a perfect name for cheap a** headline puns.

  • Salty

    He played pretty well for part of one year…what makes you think he no longer has anything to prove?

  • nick212

    um, so if a black investment banker says “when i was new to the industry, i felt like i had to prove myself more because i was the only black guy in my dept.” would we all be making a stink about it? no, y’all would say “oh yeah, good point, he’s gotta prove himself because of his race.” and you wouldn’t have white and asian bankers proclaiming “if that black banker closes a single deal, i’ll kiss your ass.” thanks, sir charles!

  • mike

    Doesn’t everyone have to prove themselves in the NBA? What does he expect?

  • zogs19994

    When I sit down at the breakfast table I usually suck my father’s hairy asshole and it gives me my daily calories. Zogs Sr. has a verrrry tasty asshole.

  • danpowers

    has had to prove himself because he is a limited athlete. he is not the first asian to make a carreer in the nba. somebody tell him to chill about that

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    He proved that he was a solid PG already. Now he just has to show that he can do it for a full season instead of a quarter of a season. I’m not Asian, so I wouldn’t begin to try to judge him on what he feels. You can’t tell another man how to feel or how he should feel. He knows what being Asian feels like more than me.

  • justn05

    Co-sign. Lin was way overhyped, not just because he was asian but because of his double doubles. Didn’t anyone pay attention to how many turnovers he had though? Productive NBA points guards cannot give up 5-8 turnovers everytime they want 10 assists.

  • robb

    Money Mayweather disagrees

  • zogs19994

    DAWGGG YOU GET SUCH GOOD PROTEIN FROM IT
    #GET BIG

  • danpowers

    actually they first offered 5+5+9 million. lins camp rejected that because they were unhappy about the third year. then the rockets came up with that 25mio offer. so he partly demanded that. anyway, in 3 years he might be worth it. at least i wish him all the best to live up to his contract.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Finally we agree on something

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Verified Account

    Lins 15 mins of fame are UP!

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Wait, you made a good point and then you made a terrible one. You are right, it would make sense if a black banker said the same thing as Lin. However, why are you so certain a black banker wouldn’t face the same sort of disbelief and denigration of his skills? Based on your observations of the world, do you feel like Asian ballers have it harder than black professionals? Where is your proof?

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Exactly. tiger got doubted and had to deal with all kinds of foolishness. He also made millions in endorsements. That’s how things work.

  • Junior Taylor

    Isn’t the expectations the same for every hyped up athlete….well except for Tebow’s sorry a**.

  • zogs19994

    I’M A DUMBASS AND I’M TALKING TO MYSELF.

    #HAIRYASSHOLES

  • zogs19994

    i <3 u
    I GOT MAD SUPPORTERS ON THIS SITE!!
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

  • Mellow Yellow

    RACE IS a factor! Jlin must prove to himself, other NBA players and the world…that he belongs in the NBA! Also, he’s the first ABC (American Born Chinese) to play in the NBA. Jeolous players like Melo, JR Smith, and Tyson Chandler, plus Ex coach Woodson did not like Lin and Linsanity. LIN IS better off with the Rockets.

    He’ll be the ONLY Asian in the NBA this season… I hope Jlin show those homies a lesson or two in RESPECTING Asians B-ballers. Just do a Bruce Lee style chop to their faces!!! I think Melo needs a whack to his RIDICULOUS head and contract too! LOL!!

  • Mellow Yellow

    LIN must prove he belongs in the NBA (Black man’s sport). Liken to Tiger proven he belongs in a white man’s sport (Golf).

  • Mellow Yellow

    YESSSSSSS and FATso Barkley kept his word.

  • Mel Yel

    HINT: Most Asians are offended by ORIENTAL (Oriental is a object). Asian is more politically correct these days. Yes, people use oriental in the 30′s to 80′s.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    HINT: I’m Asian and am NOT offended by the word. The word is defined by “characteristic of the Far East”. If you take exception to that, then please do not hesitate to contact the PC police.

  • phil

    Race is the reason the heat formed a team plan to stop him, race is the reason everybody goes 120% when playing him, race is the reason rondo and others keep talking about shutting him down when lin does not disrespect anyone. Race is the reason a harvard graduate with no criminal record and says nothing but humble praise for others is hated by so many. He is the perfect example of what an athlete should be but receives more than normal hate, why???

  • Mike From Spain

    There are Asian soccer players in Spain and the UK, to name two places. It was never a big deal. I sort of understand why race might be a factor at play here, but well, Spanish players are white and they are signed also partly because of the audience they might bring… would you say race is at play there?

  • shockexchange

    The NBA is a black man’s sport? Take a look at the pics of all the owners, GMs, and the top brass in the league office and get back to the Shock Exchange.

  • nick212

    allen, you may be misunderstanding my point. i’m saying that for jeremy lin thinking he has doubters because of his race is legit. just like if a black banker suspects he has doubters because of his race, i would agree. when you are the first of your race to do something, there will be doubters and haters. why other people find lin’s comments about race so offensive and wrong is beyond me.

  • nick212

    you are a moron. he’s not saying it’s about race at this point and he’s not saying he has nothing to prove in houston. re-read the quote. the interviewer asked if race was a factor in him not being drafted and he said yes, it was a part but not even close to being the only reason.

    thank God someone is willing to give honest answers to tough, personal questions. he could have just said “no, race was never a factor and i believe america is post-racial” but he kept it real and spoke his mind.

  • nick212

    what have you been reading, danpowers?? lin has said numerous times that he was ready to sign houston’s $5+$5+$9 contract but they changed it up to scare off the knicks and he wasn’t going to stop and refuse to sign at that point. so dolan’s story that lin drove up the price is absurd and you just bought into it and are spewing it on message boards, informed as you are.

  • K_HOLIDAY

    Do you think race was a factor in him not getting drafted because I dont! If you can play this game, especially in this day and age, people will give you a shot no matter what. The NBA is looking to expand globally, so I dont think race was ever an issue. He can speak his mind all he wants, doesnt mean he is right. Thinking you have doubters because of your race is fine, but at this point, I dont believe it had anything to do with him going undrafted. He should be worried about proving his worth now, and not what his worth was seasons ago. No one is playing the asain card; we’re just waiting for him to play ball.

  • danpowers

    it was on slam, sports illustrated and realgm i dont know, maybe on nba and espn too just didnt check on it back then. you find a conclusion about it here: http://www.msg.com/blogs/alan-hahn/the-knicks-fix–decision-on-lin-sparks-heated-debate.html

    or a little bit harsh:: http://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2012/07/18/jeremy-lin-may-be-the-dumbest-harvard-grad-ever/

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    I understood that portion of your comment. You then said: “and you wouldn’t have white and asian bankers proclaiming “if that black banker closes a single deal, i’ll kiss your ass.”
    That was the part I had a problem with.

  • nick212

    your initial post said lin’s camp rejected houston’s first $5+$5+$9 offer, which is not what i’ve read anywhere, including in the msg article you just posted. the msg article does not say that lin’s camp ASKED houston to increase the offer. rather, the msg article is saying that once woodson (who is the coach, not the GM, mind you) publicly stated the knicks would match $5+$5+$9, that lin should have refused to sign houston’s higher offer and asked the knicks to make the $5+$5+$9 offer. huge difference.

    if lin wanted to stay, he should have taken that approach, but 20-20 hindsight. also remember that he is new to this process and likely relied on some bad info from the rockets GM and his agent, who both prob told him there was an 80-90% chance the knicks would match the higher offer as well.

  • nick212

    “Thinking you have doubters because of your race is fine”
    apparently not, since everybody on this board is getting pissed off that J-Lin thinks so.

    “but at this point, I dont believe it had anything to do with him going undrafted”
    that’s your opinion, but the reporter was asking for his opinion and he gave it.

    “He should be worried about proving his worth now, and not what his worth was seasons ago”
    again, the writer asked the question about whether his race may have been a factor in not being drafted 2 yrs ago. J-Lin is not sitting around complaining about it and bringing it up on his own. he simply answered the writer’s question.

    he definitely IS worried about proving his worth now. where have you read that he’s not concerned about proving his worth now? have you read or seen any evidence that he’s coasting now that he’s got a big contract?

    he is not “playing the race card,” which implies someone using race as
    an excuse for something or using race to promote an agenda… or
    whatever else that jessie jackson and al sharpton do when they bring up
    race.

    final point – this article was written not long after the whole contract issue went down, before he had a chance to move to houston, meet his new teammates and settle in. so his state of mind and his missing NYC can be understood. this interview didn’t take place last week or even last month. this happened a while back.

  • nick212

    so you think white and asian bankers think black bankers are overhyped and make bets like “if that black banker is actually able to perform at a high level, i will kiss a donkey”? because they don’t do stuff like that. only charles barkley does that. and he’s black.

  • danpowers

    do you have a source to prove that? if so: then my bad and i apologize for what i said.

  • danpowers

    this is one of the articles i read which says that lins camp was unhappy about year three (bottom last paragraph) http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2012/07/knicks-reportedly-unhappy-with-rockets-25-million-offer-to-jeremy-lin/

  • K_HOLIDAY

    I have nothing to do with everyone else obviously. My opinion on the haters thing is my opinion and mine only. I think its fine for him to feel like he has haters because of his race. My opinion on him going undrafted is solely my opinion as well. He gave his opinion which I disagreed with but no crime there. Writers asking him questions dont make his responses valid. If someone asked Kanye West if he thought he didnt win a VMA because he was black and he said yes, people may disagree. I disagree with Lin saying the asian thing may have played a part. No crime there either! I havent read anywhere that he isnt concerned with proving his worth. I made the statement because I feel like that should be one of his main focuses right now! I as a fan care nothing about two years ago. I am interested in seeing him now! Could care less how he felt about 2 years ago. I’m eager to see him ball out now!

  • danpowers
  • nick212

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/basketball/nba/07/18/jeremy-lin-exclusive/index.html
    “Lin left Houston impressed by the effort and the enthusiasm. A
    backloaded first offer, as widely reported, came to him at four years –
    with the fourth as a team option — and $28.8 million. As news of the
    offer broke (and Lin’s camp says they did not communicate anything to
    the Knicks before an offer sheet was actually signed), Woodson publicly
    declared that Lin would “absolutely” be back. But not long after that,
    the Rockets came back with a revised offer: three years for $25.1
    million, with the money rising from $5 million in the first season, to
    $5.225 million in the second, to $14.898 million in the third. By
    this point, Lin had no real idea what the Knicks would do. But there
    also wasn’t much choice: He had all of one offer sheet in front of him
    to consider.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/jeremy-lin/ci_21139356/jeremy-lin-exclusive-i-will-always-have-haters
    “I didn’t go back to them
    and ask for more money,” Lin said. “It wasn’t like they gave me the
    choice to sign one of the two and I chose the one that would hurt the
    Knicks. I had one contract offer. That was it.”
    With no other offer on the table, Lin signed.

  • nick212

    to everyone who thinks Lin went back to Houston to increase the offer:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/jeremy-lin/ci_21139356/jeremy-lin-exclusive-i-will-always-have-haters
    Lin said he expected to –
    wanted to — re-sign with the Knicks. But the Rockets, who reportedly
    pegged him as a primary target, came after him hard. First, they agreed
    to a four-year, $28 million offer sheet, paying him about $9 million in
    each of the final two years. But by the time Lin arrived in Houston to
    sign the offer sheet, the Rockets — after reports the Knicks would
    match — had pulled the first offer and changed the deal. The new offer sheet was for three years, with a third-year salary of $14.8 million.

    “I didn’t go back to them
    and ask for more money,” Lin said. “It wasn’t like they gave me the
    choice to sign one of the two and I chose the one that would hurt the
    Knicks. I had one contract offer. That was it.” With no other offer on the table, Lin signed.

  • danpowers

    my bad. seems as if there are some contrary stories out there, my bad.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Oriental does actually have racist connotations though… see: orientalism. It’s basically the imperialist white man’s fantasy of what Asia (every country in Asia, including East Asia, South Asia, the Arab world, etc.) is. Definitely don’t say oriental in public or list that as your race on a job application.

  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    In my experience as a black man, white people and others tend to assume that black people in professional situations, particularly those situations where there aren’t many black people, are incompetent and they expect them to fail miserably. My experience and the experiences of people I know may be different from yours.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    deep in all JLin’s fans’ hearts, they all know this story. Only those anti-JLin and naysayers won’t accept this fact and choose to believe in something else, and continue to dislike JLin.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    there’s the difference between the western and the eastern side.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Orient=East, Occident=West. The term “Orientalism” has racial undertones because of Edward Said’s writings, but again, I don’t take exception to it. The original meaning of Orient does not have racist connotations. If people like Mel Yel wanna log into basketball websites to critique on PC correct terms rather than…basketball, then more power to them. I can do the same:
    HINT: Lebron isn’t black, he’s African-American.
    HINT: Jason Williams’ nickname is “Caucasian Chocolate”!
    I hear what you’re saying, but people really need to chillll when on basketball sites. I mean people dropping n-bombs and jokes about Lin’s inability to open his eyes on this same thread, and Mel Yel is trying to come at me with that ish?!

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    you’re right it’s not that big of a deal, but I wouldn’t appreciate a white guy calling you or me an oriental… but honestly your comment was fine.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Good lookin’ out, Teddy!

  • http://twitter.com/GRenaissance19 William

    Apparently, you only need to give up 6 turnovers and clock in 4 assist if you’re playing as a point guard in NY

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