Jeremy Lin’s excellent run of form continued on Wednesday night as he racked up a career-high 13 assists while leading the Knicks to a 100-85 win over the Sacramento Kings. As Cindy Boren reported:
Trouble in Linland? The New York Knicks won their seventh straight game since Linsanity took hold of the team, the NBA, LinSPN and the universe, but Jeremy Lin, the undrafted Harvard point guard who started it all, had a relatively quiet game.
There was no three-point game-winner this time and Lin’s string of 20-point performances ended at six games. Instead, he — gasp — contributed what his team needed, 13 assists along with his 10 points, as the Knicks beat the Sacramento Kings 100-85 in Madison Square Garden. It was a welcome change, since he was playing too many minutes (averaging nearly 40 over the previous six games) and shooting too much and turning the ball over too often.
“As a point guard, my field-goal attempts have been really high,” Lin said. “I don’t think that’s necessarily good. I think it’s more my job to distribute and get people in rhythm. Hopefully, especially when Melo comes back, another lethal scorer, my shots will go down and my assists will go up.”
Ah, yes, Melo. Carmelo Anthony has missed the Lin show — as has most of Chinatown and New York City, thanks to the MSG-Time Warner Cable standoff that will someday end with everybody paying more for cable — with a strained groin and could begin playing again Friday. Perhaps he’ll be well enough to play in the Knicks’ nationally televised game against the Dallas Mavericks at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Many commentators talk about Lin overcoming stereotypes about his background in the NBA, but for many the thought of an Asian stereotype being negative at all rings hollow. As Jonathan Zimmerman wrote:
I’m an Ivy League graduate and a crazed basketball fan. That gives me two very good reasons to celebrate the meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin, the Harvard-educated point guard who has brought the New York Knicks back to life.
But I’m also a university professor. So I’m troubled by the much-heard refrain that Lin — whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants — has “overcome the Asian stereotype.” In the popular mind, this story goes, Asian Americans are quiet, studious and really good at math. By scoring 20 or more points in each of his first six NBA starts, including 38 against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, Lin supposedly dealt a decisive blow against an insidious ethnic caricature.
But isn’t that stereotype — especially the part about studying hard — a very good model to follow? Why should anyone want or need to “overcome” it?
Here’s one sad answer: In our college admissions process, especially, we punish Asian Americans who hew too closely to the stereotype. Rather than rewarding students for their individual effort and achievement, we effectively penalize them for doing so well as a group.
In fact, the Education Department is currently investigating a complaint against Harvard — Jeremy Lin’s alma mater — for allegedly discriminating against Asian Americans in admissions. The department is also looking at Princeton, where a faculty member’s own research has shown that Asian Americans need SAT scores about 140 points higher than white students’ — when everything else is equal — to have the same chance of getting into an elite college.
Stereotypes aside, Alexandra Petri argues that what has made Jeremy Lin’s rise so popular in the American consciousness is that it hews so closely to the American dream.
It feels strange to wax semi-lyrical about someone who was in my college graduating class. But this Lin phenomenon is like discovering too late that you went to school with Zeus — a friendly, pleasant Zeus who was outstanding at basketball and never attempted to do weird things to swans. And you were too big an idiot to show up at any of Zeus's basketball games. Now you have to pay twenties of dollars for the privilege, and it serves you right. True, you never went to any sports games, except once when you wandered into a hockey game by accident, mistaking it for experimental theater. And it took you a whole act to realize your mistake.
This is different. Someone quipped that this is the only time people have ever been surprised by the success of an Asian-American Harvard graduate. But no one thinks of Harvardians as being good at sports. The only time the Big H won at football was in the era when no other schools had teams. And no one expects this level of excellence. So Lin’s success really is expectation-shattering — and beautiful.
But to borrow a bit of the Gettysburg Address, what Jeremy Lin does on the court is far above my poor power to add or to detract.
He makes me proud to be an American. This national pride would not happen in France, mainly because basketball does not seem very big there.
Of course we’re Linsane. He is someone who almost didn’t get the chance to prove what he could do. And then he did — and it was incredible. That’s the American dream, in a nutshell — to get the chance to show what you can do, and to do it so well that everyone stands up and cheers wildly.
More from The Washington Post
Mike Wise: For Lin, anything seems possible