The Top 10 Asian American Sports Figures of 2012

Picture from the UFC

Northwest Asian Weekly recently published its list of the Top 10 Asian American sports figures of 2012.  The list was full of Olympians, some of who we covered before covered before, like #6 volleyball player Tamari Miyashiro and #8 wrestler Clarissa Chun, and also had others we have talked about like #7 MMA lightweight champion Benson Henderson.  While #1 is no surprise, I was pleased to see a few others mentioned who don’t get as much publicity.

Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire was #5.  While Manny Pacquiao gets much more press, money, and commercial endorsements, Donaire won four fights this year and has only lost once in his entire pro career.  He is ESPN’s 2012 boxer of the year, and is known for his anti-doping stance, signing up for random testing 24×7, 365 days a year.

Jeremy Lin as #1 is not a surprise.  The article mentions that he hasn’t been playing well, something he admitted last month, but he finally seems to be doing better, averaging 12 points, 6 assists, and 3 turnovers per game at this point in the season.  It’s also not surprising that he isn’t scoring like last season, especially with James Harden on the team.  Lin certainly played well against his former team the Knicks, scoring 22 points in Madison Square Garden, but a key role for him is not being a massive scorer but a facilitator (see video below).

MMA fighter Cung Le got an honorable mention.  One person I thought should have gotten at least a mention was Michelle Kwan.  Moving to a State Department position was impressive and a demonstration that athletes are not one dimensional.  What do you all think?  Are there any athletes who shouldn’t be on that list?  Is there someone that they completely missed?  Let us know!

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Author: Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.