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Jeremy Linmania

February 14, 2012 - Al Stephenson
I don't watch much NBA action. Guess I just don't like the way the game is played. Rich, spoiled, pampered athletes that seem to do more griping than anything else. It just doesn't interest me.

Then along came Jeremy Lin. I saw a highlight of the man spinning down the lane and making an acrobatic layup. Still didn't register with me. When my son came over the other day, he asked me if I had seen what Jeremy Lin had done. I had to admit that I hadn't. He filled me in and I went to the internet for more information. Like nearly everyone else in the country that has now heard about Lin's exploits, I was suitably impressed.

The primary reason for his story causing me to smile was the fact that he was unheard of. The last guy on the end of the bench, playing for his third team this year alone (yes, he was cut by two teams before the New York Knicks signed him to sit) took advantage of his opportunity. After injuries decimated the Knicks backcourt, Lin became a default starter. Then he did something no one had done since the NBA-ABA merger.

In five games (all Knick wins) Lin scored more points than any player had in their first games as a starter. Granted, playing in New York helped him acquire instant star status, but it was a feel good story. The kid came out of high school with no Division I scholarship offers. He went to Harvard, that basketball juggernaut. He came to the NBA undrafted and skipped around until fame (and presumably fortune) found him in the last couple of weeks.

I smiled at the story until I read the comments of boxer Floyd Mayweather. He downplayed Lin's accomplishments, suggesting that he was being given the credit because he was Asian-American. Black players, said Mayweather, did these things all the time. Had Lin been black, no big deal would have been made of the situation.

I will say this for Mayweather - he succeeded in taking the spotlight (OK, some of it) away from Lin. I will also say this to Floyd Mayweather. You are wrong sir.

The view from my seat suggests that Jeremy Lin's story is about the underdog making good, not about race. Here's hoping that eventually we will look at people for their individual skills and no one will even think about suggesting bias based on race.

 
 

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