Jeremy Lin Proves an Asian American From Harvard Can Be an NBA Star

Jeremy LinAlthough New York has a lot to celebrate after the Giants' Super Bowl win, many New Yorkers have accepted the fact that the Knicks ... well, let's just say they might not be winning many championships anytime soon. In the past 10 years, they've made it to the playoffs only twice. That said, there was no better time for the unlikeliest of heroes to step in and give even the most skeptical of Knicks fans a jolt of hope to the heart. Why is this young star so unlikely, you ask? Well, his name is Jeremy Lin, and he's an undrafted Asian American who graduated from Harvard.

Lin has managed to turn the Knicks around in just three games. As of Friday, February 3, 2012, the Knicks were a dismal 8-15. With the team looking for answers, Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni was desperate enough to put in Lin as point guard. The results have been simply ... Cinderella-esque. After reading his story, you can't help but tune in to the next Knicks game to cheer this guy on.

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Lin, who's only 23 years old, received no athletic scholarships out of high school. So he went to Harvard University (in sports, I think, having an Ivy League education is actually held against you) and studied economics, building up a background where he probably could have had lots of success in the financial world. Instead, the upcoming Taiwanese star had an uncertain future after going undrafted before finally ending up on the Knicks, waiting patiently on the bench (he was even couch-surfing because his contract wasn't guaranteed), and then blowing every sports stereotype out of the water.

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He played in the last three Knicks games and started in the last two. The young star has averaged 25.3 points and 8.3 assists over the three wins, while making 29 of the 50 shots (58 percent) he took in those three games. Absolutely amazing stats. The guy can even dunk!

To make his story even more intriguing, you'll probably hear a lot of comparisons between Lin and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Lin, like Tebow, is very religious, and would like to become a minister after his basketball career is over. Even though Tebow is very polarizing to some, it looks like Lin is taking away only the good lessons from how Tebow has conducted himself in the media frenzy surrounding his spirituality. In a radio interview, regarding Tebow, Lin said:

I've drawn actually a lot of inspiration just because he’s such a polarizing figure but I think the things he says in interviews, his approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much ... I actually want to be able to do some of the things that he does in terms of the amount of charity work and the non-profit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring to me about him.

It's a feel-good story about a seemingly really decent guy that you can't help but rooting for. Lin has literally come out of nowhere and is an Asian American Ivy League graduate to boot (he's the first U.S.-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to compete in the NBA). He's captured the hearts of the world's biggest sports market and couldn't be more exciting to watch. I hope he continues to win and that "Lin-sanity" takes over the city.

As someone who's pretty "whatever" about the NBA, I'm glad I've found someone in the NBA I can cheer for, on multiple levels. Not only is he a classic underdog who no one paid attention to, he defies all stereotypes by proving that Asian Americans from Harvard can be basketball stars too.

What do you think of Jeremy Lin's story? Will you be tuning in to the next Knicks game to see him play?


Image via Stephen_Curry/Wikimedia

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