They are the people who inspire us, entertain us, challenge us and change our world: Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Jeremy Lin’s story is a great lesson for kids everywhere because it debunks and defangs so many of the prejudices and stereotypes that unfairly hold children back. He’s dispelled the idea that Asian-American guards somehow couldn’t hack it in the NBA — and that being a world-class athlete on the court is somehow at odds with being an excellent student off the court.
Contrary to what you might read, Jeremy, 23, is no overnight sensation. In fact, he achieved success the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He worked hard and stayed humble. He lives the right way; he plays the right way.
It’s great to see good values rewarded in professional sports because that’s not always the case. Often it’s the bling, the glam, the individual that gets celebrated — not the team and working together to advance a goal bigger than oneself. Jeremy cares only about one thing — winning. And I don’t care whether you are an Asian-American kid, white, black or Hispanic, Jeremy’s story tells you that if you show grit, discipline and integrity, you too can get an opportunity to overcome the odds.
Arnie Duncan for Time.com. Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education.