ICYMI: Toronto Raptors’ Jeremy Lin first Asian American to Win NBA Championship

Unless you’re an NBA basketball fan, you may not have realized that the Golden State Warriors didn’t win another NBA championship in their five year streak of making it to the Finals (and winning three of them). That honor goes to the Toronto Raptors, where Jeremy Lin has been part of the team when traded from the Atlanta Hawks and making him an Asian American legend:

“Yes, Lin played just 27 minutes in the playoffs. Yes, only one of those minutes was in the finals. But hours after he and his teammates had finished dancing and drenching Oracle Arena’s visitors’ locker room with Champagne last Thursday, Lin posted a photo on Instagram that showed him posing with his parents and his brother.

The Larry O’Brien trophy was there, too.

“First Asian-American ever to be an NBA champ!! Promise Ill never stop reppin Asians with everything I have!” Lin wrote. It was a momentous occasion, but many people don’t see the importance of it, given how little Lin played. They’re missing the point.”

Indeed, most NBA players NEVER even make it to the Finals, let alone win a Championship, as Twitter highlighted, including these snarky comments:

And amazing to think these great basketball legends ever won a championship:

Although I’m a Golden State Warriors fan, I am ecstatic that Jeremy Lin has won an NBA championship. Congratulations Jeremy, I hope to interview you one day!

Jeremy Lin on Adjusting to Toronto, D-League Experiences, and Kobe Bryant’s Disrespect

Toronto Raptors player Danny Green hosts a show called “Inside the Green Room,” and he recently had on Jeremy Lin, who moved last month to the Raptors from the Atlanta HawksYahoo Sports Canada has posted some of the more interesting sections of that 1 hour session, such as the one above where Danny Green and Jeremy Lin talk about their experiences together on the D League (now called the G League), the NBA’s minor league.  This made me respect Lin and other D League products like Green much much more, as they made little money and had not so great working conditions (as an example – practice getting delayed as a 7th grade volleyball team was still using the court) while they improved enough to make it to the NBA.

I also liked the “behind the scenes” type conversations about life in the NBA described in this segment – little tidbits about how different levels of players have to deal with practice jerseys, adjusting to a new team, and tricks that other players use to their advantage (e.g. Vince Carter chatting up players on the court to distract).   Other interesting parts of the conversation include why Lin has a video production team and Youtube channel – he felt that if he didn’t get his own voice out, other voices which had stereotypical attitudes about Asian Americans would dominate.  I particularly enjoyed him making fun of Cornell University, mocking it as a lower tier Ivy and comparing it to a younger sibling who is jealous of everything (sorry John!).

Here are some pointers to the more interesting parts published in smaller segments:


Jeremy Lin on De-masculinization and being “Deceptively Athletic”

While John Wall is one of the fastest point guards in the NBA and is acknowledged for his athleticism, there is another point guard that is almost as fast whose athleticism isn’t as highly regarded.  In the above video that I learned about from this article, Jeremy Lin comments that when he came into the league, his speed numbers were almost as fast as John Wall’s.    John Wall was considered “athletic” but he was merely “deceptively athletic.”  He goes on to talk about Asian American masculinity and “yellow fever.”  While we have talked about Asian American masculinity before, these are not subjects Lin often talks about, and it’s interesting to hear it from a high profile Asian American male.

You may be wondering, is this real news that Lin is citing, about being called “deceptively athletic?”  I did find the actual media reference here, where former head coach and commentator Jeff Van Gundy calls him that during the Linsanity period.  In addition, while the Slam Online story starts the video when Jeremy Lin speaks, the first part of the whole video is some commentary by Kevin Kreider, who took the video and posted it.  Kreider is a personal trainer and former model.

Brooklyn Nets launch Chinese language web site

The Brooklyn Nets recently launched a Chinese language version of their website – http://www.nba.com/nets/cn – which is not a big surprise given that the NBA’s only Taiwanese American player, Jeremy Lin, plays for the Nets, as reported recently:

“The site appears to mirror the Nets English language web offerings. Also, it’s expected to include features and a community calendar directed at the 200,000 Chinese and Chinese-Americans in Brooklyn —and 850,000 in the New York metropolitan area. The Nets’ HSS Training Center is located across the BQE from Sunset Park, which is becoming Brooklyn’s Chinatown.

The Nets hired a digital content producer early in the season to oversee both the website and its Weibo account, a social media site that combines aspects of Facebook and Twitter.

With Jeremy Lin returning from injury, the site is likely to get a lot of traffic.

This is the second time the Nets have had a Chinese language website. When Yi Jianlian was with the Nets, the team set one up. Once Yi was traded, the site came down.”

To be honest, it’s surprising that the site just launched. The site should have been localized ideally at the beginning of the season …

I don’t know how good Lin’s Chinese reading and writing is, but I bet it’s better than mine …

Jeremy Lin’s Focus made him turn down millions in Linsanity Endorsements

While he jokes about possible endorsements in the above video, Jeremy Lin revealed in a recent interview that he turned down millions in endorsements during Linsanity.  The reason?  He wanted to focus on basketball.  You might think “no big deal,” but he says that the endorsement money would have been bigger than his salary, including his upcoming $14 million dollar season.

Lin says in that interview that he has been given a talent by God, and that he should concentrate on developing it.  Completely separate from his views of God, I think an excellent point can be learned from this about focus and opportunity.  The window to play professional basketball is not very large, and later in life, he might regret being distracted by overdoing off-court activities like endorsement activities and not giving basketball his best possible effort.   If the opportunity of a lifetime comes up, seize it with both hands, as reaching for other things might let it slip from one’s grasp.  That’s a great lesson not just about basketball but for life in general.

It’s hard to feel sorry for Lin, who has gotten a large contract (some say too large) and done endorsements like Volvo and recently signed with Adidas.   He doesn’t seem the type to squander his money like Alan Iverson, and he is unselfish enough to  have set up a charitable foundation.  He does seem to indulge in videos, vines, and other social media, but some of these efforts seem to also business oriented.  His YouTube channel with 400,000 subscribers recently joined the Whistle Sports Network.   One would think that his years at Harvard would have trained him to manage his time well.

It could be that life in LA might prove to be a distraction, but it looks like Lin understands this and even jokes about it.   The upcoming 2014-2015 season will show whether his focus pays off.


Asian Canadian Sim Bhullar enters the NBA draft

sim_bhullar_tanveer_bhullar_reach7 foot 5 inch Asian Canadian Sim Bhullar (pictured here on the left next to his brother Tanveer) has decided to put himself into the NBA draft after finishing his sophomore year at New Mexico State.  Bhullar averaged averaged 10.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in the 2013-2014 season.  He has received some criticism for joining the draft (some saying that he needs to greatly improve his skills), but one writer points out that while he is unlikely to be selected, a big man’s career is short and that he should make money while he can, whether in the NBA’s Developmental League or outside of the US.  His younger brother, 7 foot 3 inch Tanveer shown on the right, also played this past season for New Mexico State.

The New Mexico State Aggies won the 2014 Western Athletic Tournament, with Sim Bhullar winning tournament MVP for the second straight year.  The Aggies lost to San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  If Bhullar makes it into the NBA, he would be the first NBA player of Indian descent.


Asian American Commercial Watch: Sprint NBA “Pajamas” Commercial with Kevin Durant


In this Sprint commercial, an Asian American dad turns into a clone of 6’9” basketball player Kevin Durant.  His wife isn’t at all displeased.  Watch to the end to see what the mom wants from her huge, newly transformed husband.

Jeremy Lin’s Houston Rockets Move Angers Fans

If you haven’t heard already from numerous sources, Jeremy Lin has officially taken the $25 million offer from Houston Rockets after his home team, the New York Knicks, refused to match the offer. If I was in his shoes, I would take that offer because I could certainly use the payroll upgrade. But then there is that question of loyalty and being grateful to the people that made you a standout in the first place. It’s pretty clear that this is not sitting well with a LOT of people.

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The NBA Targets India as its Next Big Market

With rising incomes, media-savvy youth, and a huge population, India seems to the NBA to be it’s next big thing.  One problem – Indians don’t seem to like basketball that much.   “Genetically, we’re not inclined that way,” says an Indian sportswriter in an article in the LA Times on this subject.  Sports are also seen as a distraction from studying.  There is lack of sports facilities in most schools, let along basketball courts.  Poor students with only one change of clothes are reluctant to get sweaty at school.  Then again, poverty hasn’t stopped Filipinos from being basketball fanatics.

To boost basketball’s popularity in India, the NBA has looked for an Indian player who could have an impact in the country much like Yao Ming’s impact in China.  One possibility is Satnam Singh Bhamara.  This 14 year old is 7 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds.  After shining at a local basketball academy in India, he will soon go to a basketball academy in the U.S.  Indian basketball players may seem unusual, but as I have seen tall, excellent ones while watching my sons play.  We have also written about the 7 foot Bhullar Brothers who are college prospects.  Does Satnam have the skills to make the impact that the NBA dreams about?  As described in this article from SportsKeeda, Troy Justice, the NBA’s Director of Basketball Operations in India, thinks so:   “If I could, I would work with this kid every day,” he says. “He can be the chosen one for basketball in India.”

Jeremy Lin’s Pursuit of the NBA

I decided to watch the 2010 NBA Draft this year hoping to see Jeremy Lin getting drafted, especially by the L.A. Lakers. When the #43 and #58 had passed and Lin’s name wasn’t announced, I still had hope because I knew Lin still could still play in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League (and he got invited to play for the Mavs).

After game 1, Jeremy Lin finished his first game with 12 points, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block shot. I thought Jeremy had a good game and showed what I expected, which was fearlessly attacking the basket when he had the chance and trying to find the open teammate. He’s quicker than most people expect and plays aggressive defense.  I do think he needs to show that he has a consistent jumpshot, but that can always be developed and improved upon. Jeremy’s performance even got some recognition on ESPN.

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