Friday, February 17, 2012


Like much of America, I’ve been swept up in Linsanity the past week. Ever since NBA phenom Jeremy Lin burst into the national consciousness, I can’t stop talking about his unbelievable meteoric rise; that thrilling, last-second three-pointer he sank when the Knicks played the Toronto Raptors (this coming from a girly girl who NEVER talks about sports, EVER); and how utterly proud I am to be an over-achieving Ivy League/Asian-American/Christian—-just like Jeremy Lin. It’s bordering on obsession. In fact, I think I’m going Linsane.

Jeremy Lin’s story resonates deeply with so many of us, on so many levels. His is the underdog story. It’s the story of the American Dream. It’s the “if you work hard you’ll achieve great things” story. And although he seems like an overnight success, Lin’s journey is the result of perseverance, humility, and great faith. His triumph is erasing a history of being overlooked and proving the nay-sayers wrong. And who doesn’t want to identify with that?  

I love that Jeremy Lin’s success is turning people’s worlds upside down. He’s shattering stereotypes and proving to the world that we (and by “we” I mean those over-achieving Ivy League Asian-American Christian types mentioned above) are more than “Asian Whiz Kids,” computer geeks, or aspiring brain surgeons. For the first time, Asian-American kids can tell their parents, “When I grow up, I want to be a basketball star—-like Jeremy Lin!” And now, my Asian-American brothers can give a big middle finger to American pop culture, which has traditionally portrayed Asian males as awkward, unathletic, and never the leading man (take that, Hollywood!).

Perhaps the most inspiring thing about Jeremy Lin is his faith. It’s not the Bible-bashing, hit-‘em-over-the-head, fire and brimstone kind of fervor that is typically assigned to American Christians. His faith is quieter but deeper, more reflective, and at the heart of it, humble. “Thankful to God for the opportunity to be a New York Knick!!” Lin writes in a December 27 Facebook post. In a culture where “ballers” are known for their bravado on and off the court, Lin’s posture of humility is a breath of fresh air.

I mean, who in the NBA posts Scripture on their Facebook page (Psalm 46:10 – “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”) or wears his heart on his sleeve (“…This team is so unselfish and has so much heart. Love playing with them!”)?

Whether he’s Linning, makes you wanna be All Lin, or leaves you Linspired (sorry, had to go there), one thing’s for sure: Jeremy Lin is not only changing America, he’s changing the world.

*An extended version of this article appears in the February 21 online edition of The Orange County Register (and in the February 22 print edition).

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