Jeremy Lin: Life of an Asian Athlete

I’m not saying that it is hard to grow up in Oak Park as a half white half asian boy, but our bubble isn’t always as perfect as it is made out to be. There have been times where I have felt the pressure of orientalism; most notably when I have played sports.

There are many prejudices and assumptions I’m sure people unintentionally make when they hear that I am asian. I’m sure the possibility of me being smart is pondered. I’m sure my height might come into question. One thing that is probably not assumed is my athleticism. Since I could stand, my parents had me playing soccer and baseball. My love of sports only grew when I began to understand the competitive nature of winning and losing.

This continued into elementary school where I began to hoop. Basketball has been one of the great loves in my life. My interest has risen and fallen over the years, but back in fourth grade, when my love for basketball was at maybe an all time high, I began to really follow professional basketball. Coincidently and almost simultaneously, one of the greatest runs of any professional athlete of all time occurred. Jeremy Lin had one of the best two weeks of basketball anybody has ever had. He scored points, hit game winners, and he even beat Kobe.

If you look at professional sports today, I could probably list all of the professional athletes in both the NBA and NFL that are asian without running out of any fingers. It was even worse back when Linsanity happened. Linsanity was huge for me. I was finally able to see someone who like me is asian and was able to make it.

Ever since Linsanity, one of the go-to things my opponents have called me on the court is Jeremy Lin, which I would retort “[expletive] you, I’m Kobe.” But nowadays, when I hear it I’m proud that at least there was an asian good enough and famous enough that when people talk to me on the court there is somebody’s name they can call me.

4 thoughts on “Jeremy Lin: Life of an Asian Athlete

  1. Mira Adelstein

    I really enjoyed reading your post about Asian athletes Max! I think the amount of stereotypes that surround the Asian people and culture is ridiculous. It is inspiring to see that the stereotypes and assumptions made about you and being Asian have made you stronger in many ways. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this post of yours and think it was very well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing something so personal and profound, Max.

    From the perspective of Orientalism, I think it would interesting to explore what parts of what Said calls the “repository” of stereotypes of the Orient carried over from the “Middle East” (which was Said’s original focus) to the East and Asia in general …. and then to places in the Asian diaspora, like the United States. In other words, how much have the stereotypes that you and Jeremy Lin and other Asian athletes face developed from these historical stereotypes — and in what ways are they new and unique?

    For example, the idea of men from the Orient being physically “weak” (effeminate, in some representations) was part of the original mindset that Said talked about and that definitely has carried over. But in the US, Asian American also have to face the “Model Minority” stereotype, which is supposed to be complimentary but which actually undermines Asian Americans in so many ways.

    You are getting me thinking …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MEENAH H

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and hearing about your personal experiences and identity. I also found it interesting when you discussed Asian-Americans involvement in athletics, and more specifically, major league sports. There are very strong connections throughout this post and I really enjoyed hearing your personal perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Micah D

    Like Meenah, I enjoyed hearing about your own personal experience. It’s very easy to think that we live in the perfect bubble of Oak Park where no one says anything racist or ignorant and everyone is accepting and inclusive. But little things, like you stated happen all the time and it feels weird to have that “bubble” pop and realize we’re just like the rest of the world in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

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