This is not a shocker! Lin needs to push Carmelo out of the way! He’s the star!
You know you’ve arrived when A) you lead an apparently moribund NBA franchise on a winning streak and upstage the Super Bowl champion, B) you put up numbers that prompt comparisons with legends of the game and C) your heritage is notable enough that a lame reference to it gets an ESPN headline writer fired. And we forgot this one: D) All of the above, which applies to the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin.
Unless the rock you’ve been sleeping under stops the sound of arena cheers from penetrating, you know that Lin is the greatest national sporting sensation since Tim Tebow. But in at least one way, Lin stands out even more: He’s Asian-American, with a now well-told story about his Chinese heritage and Taiwanese immigrant parents, though Lin was born and raised in California.
Sound familiar? Actually, it does, in the case of Michael Chang, who won the 1989 French Open at the age of 17 and remains the youngest man to claim a Grand Slam tennis title. Like Lin, Chang’s family fled mainland China for Taiwan after the Communist takeover and eventually moved to the U.S. Chang also grew up in California in a devout Christian family. Humility is a trait shared by the tennis champion and the rising NBA star. And on the playing surface, both athletes are known for their quickness and determination.
A number of elite American athletes have Asian roots. Tiger Woods is part Chinese and part Thai. Nine-time U.S. figure skating champion Michelle Kwan is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Short-track speed skating standout Apolo Anton Ohno is the son of a Japanese father. And going way back, Korean-American Sammy Lee won two Olympic diving gold medals for the U.S. in 1948 and ’52.
There have been more Asian-American athletes than you may realize. Rex Walters, who preceded Lin in the NBA, was half-Japanese. So were former USC football stars Johnnie and Chad Morton. Roman Gabriel, one of the NFL’s prototype modern quarterbacks, is the son of a Filipino laborer. Hines Ward, Tedy Bruschi and Will Demps … the list goes on.
And like all Americans, despite their common Asian ancestry each has a unique story.
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