Thursday, February 9, 2012

Musings on Lin-Sanity

Before there was Lin-Sanity, I was already starstruck over Jeremy Lin reaching the NBA.  Even though back then he was buried at the end of the Warriors bench, he was living the dream.  And let's face it, if any Asian American was going to make it to the NBA, the end of the bench is made for us subservient, spotlight avoiding, machismo-less Asian men.  It's just not in our Chinese culture and makeup to have the charisma and showmanship required of superstars in the black-culture dominated NBA.  We're used to blending in and not sticking out lest we get hammered down and bring shame upon our families. 

Clearly, I settled for too little, though I would have never predicted anything like this. 

Now that Jeremy is tearing it up, there has been plenty written and covered about him.  But watching this fantasy unfold is weird because coming from a similar background as him, I feel like I can intuit some of what he is feeling and what it might be like to be in his shoes.  This brings thoughts a mile a minute.  Here are a few random, unorganized musings:
  • Despite the prerequisite "first Asian American" descriptor attached to him, I bet there are people (mainly in the midwest) who are surprised he can speak English good (yes, "good" was intentional).

  • When black athletes celebrate, it just looks cool even if they fail
    When white athletes celebrate, it looks like this:     awkward.

    When Jeremy celebrates, while I'm stoked for him, it still sort of looks odd in a "I hope non-Asian people aren't laughing at him" kind of way.     grinning and winning.
  • I wonder if anyone hears or is bothered by his slight ebonics accent.  Truth be told, what I hear is the classic Bay Area Chinese American accent which is a mix of Bay Area Asian slang left over from the Asian Pride movement with an influence of wanting to be black at some point growing up and being around lots of black guys from basketball.  I'm curious if he ever has/had to dial it back for fear of people saying that he wishes he were black.

  • Some people think that Carmelo's bow with Jeremy is racist.  <shrug>.  How funny would it be if entire sections of fans did this in unison whenever Jeremy scored an and-1?
  • The Tebow comparisons are already in full force.  In fact, Jeremy talks about Tebow being an inspiration to him.  Part of the reason for the comparisons is that Jeremy talks about his faith with the media in a way that is reminiscent of Tim Tebow in that sometimes, a question will spark a, "I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." 

    I think a lot of Christians already have an eye-roll reaction to when celebrities seem to trivially thank God for something they achieved (eg. Austin Rivers' post-game-winner interview, "God made the ball go in.").  With Tebow, while he seems like a genuine Christian, other than glimpses from various exposes about stuff like his missionary work, I can't fill in much else of his day-to-day life in my head and so I take the lazy way out and just assume he lives a celebrity lifestyle surrounded by hot blondes, but behaves himself for the greater glory of God.  Or something like that.

    With Jeremy, I feel a stronger personal connection to him because we have a similar background.  Being familiar with the Chinese Christian culture (which is where I first found my faith), I feel more oomph behind his Jesus shout-outs.  I can imagine that he struggles with being intentional about putting himself out to the public as a Christian first, but at the same time, not wanting to perpetuate the Christian athlete stereotype.  I can also imagine how he hangs out with his friends and what he does in his spare time.  No idea about other athletes.

    Anyways, this article says that the Tebow comparison is a lazy one.

  • If this keeps up, someone is going to start a tebowing equivalent called linning, if they haven't already.  What would it be?  I dunno.  Maybe option one could be the dangling band-aid on the chin:

    Option two could be sticking out the blue-stained tongue.  Is that blue gatorade or blue raspberry fun dip?

  • It's nice being able to watch Jeremy being interviewed and being able to read his subtle nonverbal body language.  NBA interviews usually sound like this.  Mang, I can't read nothing from that, mang.

  • Lin-sanity has also meant that all of a sudden, Asians are getting a lot more airtime during the game broadcasts and shows like SportsCenter.  Unfortunately, a lot of them make me feel like the Asian male stereotype is being perpetuated.  Jlin's and-1 finish is two steps forward...     ...and this is one step back.

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