Blog Entry

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 9:09 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Jeremy Lin discussed the bias he faced from talent evaluators during All-Star Weekend (Getty Images)

ORLANDO -- Jeremy Lin knows exactly how much he was overlooked.

"I think ESPN had me as the 467th best player out of 500 or something like that coming into the season," Lin said, speaking in front of a standing room at Amway Center on Friday night.

Lin, a Taiwanese-American, said that he believes that a biased perception of Asian-American athletes was a contributing factor in his being underrated by NBA talent evaluators during the last few years.

"I think it has something to do with it," Lin, who was undrafted out of Harvard in 2010 and cut by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets this season, said. "I don't know how much. But I think just being Asian-American, obviously when you look at me, I'm going to have to prove myself more so again and again and again, and some people may not believe it."

Preconceived notions about his race, Lin said, choosing his words carefully, might even have influenced the language used to describe his skillset.

"I know a lot of people say I'm deceptively athletic and deceptively quick, and I'm not sure what's 'deceptive.' But it could be the fact that I'm Asian-American. But I think that's fine. It's something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder." 

The media contingent began arriveing more than a half-hour before Lin's press conference, which was televised live on NBA TV. Unlike the other participants in the Rising Stars Challenge game, Lin did not conduct interviews following Friday morning's practice. Instead, he filled 10 rows of chairs in Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's Amway Center press conference room, with reporters hugging both walls as well. Eventually, the doors were closed and media members were turned away due to a lack of space.

Lin went on to state that the doubts about his abilities continued into his tenure with the New York Knicks, where he has become a breakout star since moving into the starting point guard role. He confirmed reports that he had attended a group chapel service with a number of fellow NBA players and admitted that he had prayed that he wouldn't be released before cut day, as his contract was not yet guaranteed.

"I went to chapel with Jerome Jordan and Landry Fields and the chaplain asked us to share a prayer request," Lin remembered. "I knew February 10th was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart. Just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year. So that's kind of what I shared with the group of guys."

The prayer, he said, was the result of feeling as if getting released would put him at a crossroads.

"I really didn't have a Plan B to be honest... I was thinking about three main options: overseas, D-League or to just take a break or give up basketball for awhile. And I just didn't really know. I was just trying not to think about it basically. I just said, if I get cut by the Knicks, then I'll take a look at all that, but until then, I want to make sure I try to stay focused and not think negatively.

That prayer session probably feels like years ago to Lin, who currently ranks in the top-20 in player efficiency in the NBA. Nevertheless, his frugal lifestyle remains the same.

"I'm still a minimum guy," he said quickly when asked if he had "splurged" on anything recently. "That hasn't changed."

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:57 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

"So if Asians want to be percieved as good basketball players, more and more of them should proof to us that they can play."

Who's us, so Asians are not Americans.  Why would an Asian needs to prove anything.  That's why Lin is feeling the bias.  Just judge Lin on his skills not on his race.

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:55 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

From 467th to top 20 within 3 weeks, that's why he getting all the attention.

Since: Mar 4, 2012
Posted on: March 4, 2012 3:47 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

The bottom line is that Lin would never got his chance if you ran the show.  That's why there were no black baseball player before jacky robbinson because blacks weren't given the chance.

Since: Jul 11, 2010
Posted on: February 26, 2012 4:55 am

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

Jeremy Lin is a great story and I hope it doesn't go down the race trail. His story isn't about breaking barriers or stereotypes, its about perserverance and overcoming. It's about not giving up and would be a great inspiration to kids all over the world. Stereotypes are attached to everyone, both negative and positive. I heard an announcer comment during a Knicks game that Lin's from Harvard so we know that he's smart. Do we? Many NBA players are standout collegiate scholars, but based on thier institution of learning don't get that respect. Yao Ming proved how dominant an international player can be. Dirk Nowitzki is a finals and regular season mvp. Would RG3 after winning the Heisman trophy be rated ahead of Andrew Luck who the Colts have already chosen from seasons end if he was of another race? You're not able to play QB unless you're 6'2"...tell that to Drew Brees and the record books. Cam Newton won at evrything, so let's knock his throwing motion now ( Tebow is winning, let's embrace winning and forget about his throwing motion ).For just about every stereotype there's an example out there that it's wrong. Lin don't be loud, be an example and carry the chip quietly, someone will tell your story the right way. Good luck with your NBA career.

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 25, 2012 7:10 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

To :

I started playing basketball with kids of all races since I was 13, and I can assure you that kids of 13 (when they started to form and test their athletic aspirations) already know very well about race and preconceptions. Kids learn fast from their adults.

As an Asian, I am happy to see him succeeding. I also feel for Lin, and admire his courage to speak out what he feels to be true. We all should know that he is smart enought to know that his action will hurt his marketing power, and severely lesson his future earnings, which could be considerable. But he still did it after trying to be evasive about it for a couple weeks under severe pressure, from all fronts.

It's a heavy burden for this young man of 23 that we, all of us, Asians or not, placed on him. It does not speak well for all of us adults, or this world of ours, that such a young man must feel compelled to speak out like this.

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:55 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

To :

Your first sentence proved Lin's point about preconceptions, however unintentional.

When Jackie Robinson first played for the Dodgers in 1947, people at that time could also justifiably ask: "When was the last time the National League had a black player?"

Perhaps the Asian-Aamericans need someont like MLK, for the Dream has not be realized, yet.

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:45 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

Well, I am an Asian. I loved playing basketball. Many times I have been told by people I played with who were surprsied: You are pretty quick... Many times, people asked me, are you going to be an engineer? They were trying to be nice, and I appreciate that. But it's exact the preconception that Lin was trying to bring out.  It's not racism, but it's stereotyping, however unintentional.
Maybe Lin should just play basketball and let his action do the talking-like Jackie Robinson once did when he was the only African American in the National League.

Since: Oct 14, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:52 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'


Since: Jun 9, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:27 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

WOW,  I am a fan of Lin, but it is slowly decreasing. Do you think anyone else with his Skill-Set would be as famous as he is right now if it were not based on his looks? This is what happens when Ethnic Americans assume that the other Minorities that have an HISTORY of being discriminated against, just assume it was all over feelings. They just assume they were just complaining, so they get a turn. We don't teach real American History in our schools, which would include ANYONE that was born in America. So what happened to certain groups is NOT African American History, Hispanic American History, it is just plain AMERICAN History. WOW!

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: February 25, 2012 1:00 pm

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

I am really sick of this Lin crap. Making it seem like the NBA execs are bunch of racist and didnt wanna give the guy a shot. Do the NBA execs have legitimize reason to cut Lin in the warriors and rockets camp? Yes, everyday players are cut in the NBA that includes black,white players. You cannot blame the NBA execs that they arent enough Asian American players in the NBA. When you walk in a high school gym, children play ground, college gyms. do you see asian americans shooting baskeball? No you dont. So the idea the NBA execs are being bias is absurd. Lin is just another player, but another play whos race choose not o play the game of basketball. Is kind of a man applying for a recepionist job, it is sad but the man will find it harder to get the job but a 21 year old girl will get it. It is because society has accepted that, and thats not being sexist. So if Asians want to be percieved as good basketball players, more and more of them should proof to us that they can play. Jeremy LIn can play, this is not a race issue, it is a race of asians who choose not to play basketball butt rather become engineers but feel that they being bias on since one guy like Lin came out. There are probably 10 guys in the NBA guys (black) have been in Lin shoes but no big deal because of race. ENough with this.

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