If you are an Asian-American with an Economics degree from Harvard, breaking ankles in the NBA is not the natural post-graduation career path. Actually, you don’t even need the stereotypical degree from an Ivy League school.
Previous to this year, if you were of Asian-American descent, the closest you got to seeing NBA action was when William Hung performed at halftime of a Rockets/Warriors game in 2004. Asian-Americans playing NBA2K12, well… that’s another story; but what Hampsterdam was to the affluent white population of Baltimore in HBO’s The Wire, the NBA was to Asian-Americans… until Jeremy Lin arrived.
Prior to a week ago, Jeremy Lin had spent time with the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors – and shockingly enough, William Hung’s 2004 performance didn’t do Lin any favors. Lin also made multiple trips to the D-League and briefly spent time with the Chinese Taipei National Team prior to the 2011 FIBA World Championships.
But after going through three different point guard options – Baron Davis, Tony Douglas and Iman Shumpert – the New York Knicks, in desperate need of a facilitator, put Lin in the starting line up on February 4th against the New Jersey Nets.
On a ten day contract, living on his brother’s couch – a dental student at NYU – Lin has scored at least 20 points in each game he’s played. Against the Wizards, he had 23 points & 10 assists (and humiliated Maurice Evens, who moved out of the way in order to avoid being on the wrong end of the Harvard grad’s poster); versus the Jazz, 28 & 8; and against the Nets, 25 & 7. After the Jazz game, Lin’s first as a starter at Madison Square Garden, Knicks fans started an ‘M-V-P!’ chant for the Economics major from Harvard.
And as this goes to print, Lin has steered the Knicks to a clutch victory over the LA Lakers, dropping a career-high 38 points and seven assists on Kobe Bryant – a humbling experience for the Black Mumba, who admitted before the game that he had no idea who the hell this Lin guy was.
At this point, the only guy associated with Harvard who is more popular than Lin is Mark Zuckerburg – you know … that guy who started Facebook.
In fact, thanks to Jeremy Lin, Asian-Americans will no longer only be known for their brains, quick delivery service and impressive ratio of quality of service to cost. Well, Asian-Americans are now… um… actually… still known for all those things.
Lin has proven is that the same skills needed for your company’s IT department, a Chinese food restaurant and a dry-cleaners are just as important on the basketball court. This guy has got the IQ to play in the NBA for years to come.
And I’m not talking about a “basketball IQ”, but a legitimate Harvard-honed IQ.
By R.J. Karas