Leave Jeremy Lin Alone
Jeremy Lin made a bit of a splash this year in basketball. He was a part of a DII state championship team in high school, but no one offered him a basketball scholarship. He ended up going to Harvard, a school not known for its basketball program. He ended up being the top 10 in the Ivy League in eight categories, including scoring, shot percentage, rebounds, and assists.
Regardless of all this, Jeremy Lin ended up undrafted. However, the Mavericks invited him to play for them in the summer league. This is when he started to catch more attention from recruiters and spectators. In his big game against the Wizards, Jeremy Lin stole the show from the #1 draft pick John Wall. By the end of the game, most of the people in the audience were cheering for him.
Soon after the league ended, we started hearing news of teams who were interested in him. The Mavericks were in talks with him. He had some calls from the Lakers. The Warriors, who were going through a change in ownership at the time, ended up giving Jeremy an offer: A two-year contract, $500,000 in the first year with half guaranteed. Jeremy accepted.
This is when he became a big story. A local guy who matched up against John Wall has chosen to join the Golden State Warriors at a time when the team was going through exciting changes. Oh, did I mention that he is the first fully Asian player to play in the NBA in decades? All of a sudden, he became a superstar before he even played his first game.
Is this necessarily a good thing? It is great for the Asian American community, to be sure. But how will rocketing to fame affect him as a player? According to the Mercury News, the crowd grew the loudest during the Warriors’ first pre-season game when Jeremy stepped off the bench. They went on to rock the Oracle Arena every time he did something. Anything.
This trend continued in the following Warriors games. Even if he was in for two minutes, the audience reaction to his every action were noticeable. The Warriors’ new coach, Keith Smart, has tried to put him in at moments of high intensity or fast pace. Like most rookies, Jeremy couldn’t keep up quite yet. With so much support though, he can’t help but feel some pressure.
Jeremy Lin is a pioneer for Asian Americans in the NBA. He is a smart basketball player, with a good range of skills. Even he tells reporters that he wants the fans to know that he will not be MVP this year. The fame and celebrity status that we have given him may actually have a negative impact on him. Watch this video, for example.
He doesn’t need this. Not yet. Let him develop into a player that he wants to be, not what we want him to be. He needs to keep his head clear, and we are clouding his thinking with unrealistic expectations. When people outside of the Asian American community can look at his highlights and say that he is a very good player, that is when he will be breaking stereotypes.