The San Francisco Chronicle runs a major Pulitzer-worthy investigative report:
Asian Americans remain rare in men's college basketballMore.
Bryan Chu, Special to The Chronicle
Jeremy Lin has seen it and heard it.
Too short. Too skinny. Picked last. Asian.
Those tags stick to Lin wherever he goes, even as the starting point guard for Harvard's basketball team.
"It's a sport for white and black people," Lin said. "You don't get respect for being an Asian American basketball player in the U.S."
Although the game is brimming in popularity among Asian American youth - there are Asian leagues, club teams like the San Jose Ninjas and San Jose Zebras, and packed courts outside schools, churches and temples - Lin practically is alone.
Of 4,814 Division I men's basketball players in 2006-07, there were 19 Asian Americans (including Pacific Islanders and ethnically mixed), according to the most recent NCAA Student-Athlete Race and Ethnicity Report. That's 0.4 percent.
Players, coaches and sociologists cite stereotypes and cultural factors as reasons that percentage might not rise very much in the foreseeable future. At the same time, there are players and coaches making inroads to mainstream, high-profile basketball, and there's a feeling of pioneer spirit among them.
"Especially now that there are lots of Asian Americans growing up and playing, I have to try to hold my own in college," Lin said. "It's definitely motivational and it gives me a chip on my shoulder."