February 16, 2012

The Vietnamese non-Jeremy Lin

Why do some things become media sensations and others don't? For example, in the 1998 Cotton Bowl against UCLA, Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen, born in a refugee camp in Arkansas, put on one of the greatest defensive performance I've ever seen in college football. UCLA won, but an L.A. Times headline read: "Nguyen Simply a Blur to UCLA Blockers: Smallish Texas A&M linebacker sets record with 20 tackles, 15 solo." He was a striking player to watch because his legs didn't look long enough to get him where he needed to go, but, somehow, he usually got to the ballcarrier ahead of his ten teammates. Watching the game, you couldn't help thinking, "A few more men like him, and South Vietnam wouldn't have lost the war."

The next season, Nguyen was a consensus All-American, won the Bednarik and Lombardi trophies for best player in college football outside the glamor positions. He still holds Texas A&M's career record with 517 tackles. The all-time NCAA record is 545 tackles. 

He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Dallas Cowboys, became starting middle linebacker (the central position on defense) in his second season, and by 2003 was second team All Pro. A neck injury ended his career after 7 years, but he was quickly hired as an assistant coach by the Cowboys, and is now an assistant coach at A&M.

In other words, Nguyen enjoyed sustained levels of achievement that Lin is years away from. (I don't want to sound like Mr. Negativity about Lin, but it's not all that astounding that a point guard on a mediocre team can rack up a lot of points over a limited number of games if he chooses to shoot a lot and his shot is falling. Heck, Nate Archibald did it for 2 straight seasons in the early 70s. For example, Nguyen's college stats, playing in a tougher conference, are much better than Lins' were playing in the Ivy League.)

But, there was never much, if any, media circus around Nguyen. To be precise, he got the amount of press coverage suitable for being possibly the best defensive player in college football in 1998, plus additional coverage for the novelty factor of his being Asian. Yet, the Nguyen story never really grabbed the interest of the public like the Lin story has. For example, his name hasn't come up much over the last couple of weeks. Outside of Vietnamese-American and Texas football circles, he seems forgotten. Why the difference in public reactions? Why no Nguyensanity?

- College Station, TX is a long way from Madison Square Guard? Okay, but the Dallas Cowboys are not usually an overlooked team.

- Texas A&M isn't Harvard?

- Football players wear helmets with faceguards?

- Offense over defense?

- More Asian-Americans in the U.S. than 10-15 years ago?

- Vietnamese less important than Chinese?

- Basketball statistics more understandable to casual fans than Nguyen's huge number of tackles? 

- Today's Internet even more fad-friendly?

- Although the names rhyme, Lin looks easier to pronounce than Nguyen?

110 comments:

Chuck Rudd said...

Basketball lends itself to these Cinderella stories more so than football. The games are in quicker succession; the game is more personal; the statistics are more digestible.

Also, the wheels are greased for Asian fans of the NBA. Asians have increasingly embraced hip hop culture of which the NBA is a central component.

jody said...

i'd say this one is easy.

individual football players matter less than basketball players, especially defenders. one good linebacker doesn't change the game very much.

1696 NFL players, 360 NBA players.

make him the cowboys quarterback, then you'd have something.

Anonymous said...

One more reason: he didn't play quarterback. Lin, on the other hand, has been the de facto team leader for the last week and a half.

jody said...

the penguins had a korean player, jim paek, when they won the stanley cup in 1991 and 1992. coverage of this was...zero.

lol i think the penguins actually have a korean player now in fact. checking. richard park, yep.

Mr Lomez said...

"Football players wear helmets with faceguards?"

That's part of it. With 22 positions (plus Special Teams) it's also harder for fans to quantify how much any given player is contributing to a team's success.

Had Nguyen been a QB, of course, (or a stud WR/RB) the conversation would be totally different. The fact is, linebacker just isn't very sexy, unless you're name is Ray Lewis or you play in a 3-4 and get to blitz every play like Clay Matthews.

I'll add basketball has always been pretty strictly black and white, whereas Nguyen was playing amongst the first crop of Pacific Island imports. Even without a helmet on, he blended in more than Lin does.

Black Sea said...

Football is a more anonymous sport. Many more players on the field (or court) at any given time, and as you pointed out, you can't really see their faces. It's difficult to establish a "star" identity for a football player, unless he's a sucessful quarterback, or a really exceptional player at another skill position.

China is much more a part of the American consciousness now than it was 10 years ago, and Lin is ethnically Chinese. Vietnam was very much a part of the national consciousness in the 60s and 70s, but that's eons ago for most sports fans, and maybe Americans don't want to be reminded of Vietnamese refugees anyway.

I think the main factor is that the New York media is desparate for a catchy, upbeat story, and Lin provides one. He's a part of the vast tapestry of 21st century America, he defies an ethnic stereotype -- in a positive sense -- and that's appealing, he's an underdog who beats the odds, and this is timeless, he is -- I guess -- a nice kid, and middle aged men like to watch sports on TV and say, "he's a nice kid," as if he lives down the block from them.

I think your last point is also valid. In the internet era, stories "go viral," globally, in a way that they couldn't even 15 years ago. For example, I've never seen Jeremy Lin play basketball, I've never seen a news story about him on TV (I don't live in America, and don't watch much TV), but I know more than enough about this story from the internet, and if I cared to pursue it, I could watch Youtube videos, ESPN clips, etc. However, I'm not really that interested.

swimming swan said...

You're missing an important aspect of the story. You don't get Asians large enough to play football or basketball unless they are mixed race.

OneSTDV said...

Football players wear helmets with faceguards?

I think this has a lot to do with it. From just watching that clip, I would have had no clue that the guy who caught the ball was not white. Yellow vs. white skin doesn't show up very well on TV. And since his face is obscured, it's hard to tell he's not just a white guy.

Matt said...


Texas A&M isn't Harvard?
Football players wear helmets with faceguards?

Offense over defense?
More Asian-Americans in the U.S. than 10-15 years ago?
Vietnamese less important than Chinese?
Basketball statistics more understandable to casual fans than Nguyen's huge number of tackles?


All of the above, plus the following:

Texas is less of a media center than NYC

"Dat" is a more confusing name than "Jeremy"

Anonymous said...

I was a freshman at A&M when Dat was a senior in '98. The last home game against Missouri A&M won, IIRC, 17-14. Dat again had about 20 tackles and was simply unblockable and went sideline to sideline as well as any college middle LB I've ever seen. Greatest single game athletic performance I've ever witnessed in person.

Also got to meet him once through a friend. Very intelligent and down to earth fellow.

Auntie Analogue said...

Lin's meteoric sanctification by Media-Pravda may owe much to timing. Just as non-establishment Republicans, Tea Partyers, and Media-Pravda clutch at whomever might next be the not-Mitt, the timing of Jeremy Lin's sparkling debut helps Left-liberals find their other-than-demonstratively Christian non-white not-Tim-Tebow.

swimming swan said...

"Also got to meet him once through a friend. Very intelligent..."

Didn't you say he was a Texas A&M undergrad?

I guess it's all relative.

Anonymous said...

22 guys on a field in warrior gear which hides their faces as opposed to 10 guys on a court, their faces easy to see on tv or from a lot of arena seats.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and football is still full of guys who aren't black, esp. the most important one, the qb.

Basketball? There hasn't been a Larry Bird in a long while and the John Stocktons and Steve Nashes of the NBA, appreciated though they are for their skills, are not the guys that win the game in the last seconds--they enable the others to win the game with their ball handling and passing skills.

Tom Regan said...

Basketball is a far more international sport than football, and a big part of the Lin story is that he has resuscitated Chinese (yes, they're claiming him as theirs) interest in the sport just as it was ebbing away following Yao Ming's retirement.
Ergo, the Lin story gets hyped by a media trying to draw Asian eyes to their telecasts and websites. And, yes, the internet is key to that. A hell of a lot of traffic on ostensibly US sports sites like espn is Chinese basketball fans, Russian hockey fans, Japanese baseball fans etc.
That was never going to happen with football, as it would be the least internationally followed of the four major US sports.

Anonymous said...

"the timing of Jeremy Lin's sparkling debut helps Left-liberals find their other-than-demonstratively Christian non-white not-Tim-Tebow."

You know, that never occurred to me, but considering this is a NYC team, it makes perfect sense. They don't go crazy over the white Euro players, do they?

David Stern said...

Many reasons given here are valid.

The biggest reason is because there is a huge potential profit for the NBA in 2012 to promote Jeremy Lin whereas there was no compelling financial reason for the NFL to have marketed Dat Nguyen a decade ago.

A decade ago and today the NFL is doing fine without any niche marketing angles or man bites dog HBD stories. The NFL seems obsessed with marketing to women, so if Dat Nguyen was a woman playing today, she would get the same promotion as Lin is getting today by the NBA.

Today the NBA is struggling to avoid a complete ghettotization and falling relative marketshare. In addition, they recently lost Yao Ming to retirement and hope Lin can continue to open up the 1.2B Chinese market to the NBA which is obsessed with internationalizing their brand.

Truth said...

All of your suppositions are good. Analyzing the Lin phenomenon though, I would say that there are 4 main factors that make the story what it is:

1) He's Asian

2) He plays in the worlds' most important city

3) He has achieved individual success (24ppg 9 asst)

4) his team has achieved success (7-0)

Then there are smaller factors, such as his not being drafted, playing at Harvard, being cut multiple times, etc.

If ONE of these four factors is missing, let's say, he's black or white, or the team went 2-5, or he plays for the Milwakuee Bucks, or he starting but averaging 5ppg, 4 ast, the story is not what it is.

I would say that if ONE factor is missing, the hype does not diminish by 25% but rather by 70% or so.

The convergence of factors is what makes Lin's story so amazing

Drunk Idiot said...

"College Station, TX is a long way from Madison Square Guard? Okay, but the Dallas Cowboys are not usually an overlooked team."

The Cowboys aren't overlooked, but do they get as much hype as the Giants & Patriots (and not just this year, with the teams meeting in the Superbowl)? The Cowboys may call themselves "America's Team," but the national media hypes up the East Coast teams more these days. After all, the media is located in New York (and ESPN is in Bristol, CT -- halfway between NY & Boston). The

Cowboys get about the same level of national attention as the Packers. They're both important, but not as important as the East Coast teams.

"Texas A&M isn't Harvard?"

Maybe, but that's less of a factor than Lin being the main ball handler for the team that plays its home games in Madison Square Garden -- the biggest stage in the city that bills itself as the "Center of the Universe™."

"Football players wear helmets with faceguards?"

That's, no doubt, a factor too. Nguyen was a lot less visible than Lin. Don't forget, the NBA markets players/personalities (e.g., "Don't forget to watch next Sunday, as Kobe and the Lakers take on LeBron, Chris Bosh, D.Wade and the Heat"), while the NFL markets teams.

"Offense over defense?"

Probably a factor too.

"More Asian-Americans in the U.S. than 10-15 years ago?"

Probably not much of a factor.

"Vietnamese less important than Chinese?"

Now we're talking. Definitely a factor.

"Basketball statistics more understandable to casual fans than Nguyen's huge number of tackles?"

Definitely a factor. When was the last time you heard a casual fan marveling over how many tackles some linebacker has/had? They might talk about somebody who was known for hitting hard, but they don't talk about defensive stats in football.

Basketball ppg, on the other hand...

"Today's Internet even more fad-friendly?"

Social media is the big difference. No Twitter or facebook back in '98 or 2003.

Truth said...

In addition, there I would say that over the course of my lifetime, there have been four athletes who have achieved this level of hype; LeBron James last year, Brett Favre, and Tim Tebow.

Someone mentioned Fernandomania with Valuenzuela, but I think it was a completely different era which is not comparable.

David Stern said...

The big HBD question in this comparison is:

Is a 2003 NFL Dat Nguyen linebacker or a 2012 NBA Jeremy Lin point guard a more rare HBD occurrence?

My guess is that Dat Nguyen is rarer because an NFL linebacker's body type is much rarer in the Vietnamese population than an NBA point guard body type among the Chinese.

Hopefully, Lin's body will hold up longer than Nguyen's did. The NFL is no doubt much more destructive on a linebacker's body than the NBA on a point guard's body. Also, NBA refs can protect and give unfair advantages to stars like Lin in a way the NFL cannot protect or promote linebackers.

Drunk Idiot said...

"There hasn't been a Larry Bird in a long while and the John Stocktons and Steve Nashes of the NBA, appreciated though they are for their skills, are not the guys that win the game in the last seconds--they enable the others to win the game with their ball handling and passing skills."

What do you mean by "a Larry Bird?" If you mean a dominant, superstar, white point forward, then yeah -- you've got a point. But if you mean a dominant white superstar/scorer, then why wouldn't Nowitzki fit?

It can't be because he's non-American, since you go on to cite Steve Nash as a superstar play-maker.

Speaking of which, John Stockton and Steve Nash have made an awful lot of big shots for guys who merely facilitate for others. But you're probably closer to the mark Stockton than with Nash. To the extent that Stockton made his living creating shots for Karl Malone, you've got a point.

But in addition to creating for teammates, Steve Nash creates an awful lot of shots for himself. Nash has taken an awful lot of the Suns' last second shots in game-on the-line situations.

Anonymous said...

Any story but the economy.

Anonymous said...

"Today the NBA is struggling to avoid a complete ghettotization and falling relative marketshare."

re: "ghettotization"

That the kid is a Harvard grad is puts a smile on David Stern's face. You have a good point.

Orthodox said...

The NBA is roughly on par with soccer in terms of popularity in China. There are a lot of Chinese in the NY media market.

A lot of this may also be Yao hangover. He left and no Chinese player filled the hole until now.

Frenchie said...

Truth is right!

Also, Tim Tebow and Tiger Woods are proof that the sport does not matter.

Reg C├Žsar said...

The Cowboys aren't overlooked, but do they get as much hype as the Giants & Patriots (and not just this year, with the teams meeting in the Superbowl)?
--Drunk Idiot [appropriately]

We sure miss 1979, don't we? That was the last year before Atlanta surpassed New York as the "world's media capital". Update the database on your TRS-80! (Or Commodore PET.)

Here in the Upper Midwest, where football is more important than basketball, or even baseball (sick, I know, but the truth), what little attention the Giants were getting this year evaporated during their midseason slide. They were never heard from again until they surprised the Packers in the postseason and the media were forced-- yes, forced-- to turn their way.

Here, 999 miles from Dallas, the Cowboys are a healthy third behind the Vikings and Packers on what people wear. Then come the Steelers, 49ers and Pats, and nearby Bears and Colts. My Jints cap is pretty rare.

If the "New York media circus" plays any role in the Lin mania, it's that, like Eli, he reminded them that, "Hey!, there's a team right here in town! Who knew?"

Anonymous said...

Ichiro Suzuki is another example. He hasn't gotten this kind of hype despite establishing himself for 10 years in the MLB and posting stats (10X All Star and Gold Glove, 2X AL batting champ, AL MVP, single season MLB hit record, etc.) that Lin is unlikely to be able to achieve comparably in the NBA.

I think basketball does lend itself to better showcasing stars and individual play.

Anonymous said...

There's a good compilation of Lin's plays over the past 7 games in this Youtube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/shacmngCP3/search?query=jeremy

Anonymous said...

Good point Steve. Also, nobody talks about Dat Phu who was the starting QB for the Atlanta Falcons from 1974-1981. Dat went to 2 Pro Bowls and led the league in passing in 1978. He got injured early during the 1980 season which was a real shame because with that Gritz Blitz defense that Jerry Glanville employed they could have won it all.

Google is down by the way. Have a great night.

Dan in DC

Nanonymous said...

Obviously many factors but if I had to pick one, it would be "Vietnamese less important than Chinese". The splash would still be there but the mania wouldn't.

Phuc Yu said...

Who dat?

Anonymous said...

Wait, stealing that ball in the air is "one of the greatest defensive performance I've ever seen in college football"? Seriously? Just how boring a normal play is then? Try watching soccer maybe - any half-decent game will have scores of more exciting plays.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Just as non-establishment Republicans, Tea Partyers, and Media-Pravda clutch at whomever might next be the not-Mitt, the timing of Jeremy Lin's sparkling debut helps Left-liberals find their other-than-demonstratively Christian non-white not-Tim-Tebow."

Jeremy Lin actually is demonstrably Christian. He's pretty open about it -- there's his pregame 'bible-reading' ritual with Landry Fields, for one thing. For another, check out the image on his Twitter page. There's also this quote from his Facebook wall on New Year's Day:

"Awesome church service to start 2012! My new years resolution: love God more deeply and intimately by dec 31 than I did on jan 1"

What's interesting is that Lin's devout Christianity doesn't seem anywhere near as threatening to those on the left as Tebow's. Bill Maher, for example, who has mocked Tebow, has been eating up the Lin highlights.

"Today the NBA is struggling to avoid a complete ghettotization and falling relative marketshare. In addition, they recently lost Yao Ming to retirement and hope Lin can continue to open up the 1.2B Chinese market to the NBA which is obsessed with internationalizing their brand."

There are two problems with that. One is Lin's public expressions of Christianity (China is officially atheist), and the other is all the Lin fans in the audience waving Taiwanese flags. The FT reported Thursday that China state TV has been censoring Lin's games because of this, despite the clamoring of everday Chinese to watch him.

SF said...

Are you on top of the story about the immigration agent who shot and wounded his boss, then was killed? Possibly juicy stuff.

Felix said...

Ironically,the net effect of "linsanity" will be to spread appreciation of "black athletic superiority" to Asians just as has been done to whites.

By getting Asians engaged with the NBA again after the Yao retirement, "linsanity" will increase the exposure the NBA gets among Asians. Lin's transient hype nothwistanding, the NBA is 99% about blacks dunking the basketball in the most exaggerated way possible. So, the biggest net effect of Lin's rise will not be to make Asians feel good about themselves athletically but to expose them to BLACK athletic superiority. Since that will be the ultimate effect, we can expect the hype machine to keep rolling for a long time, since the promotion of blacks as the ultimate in human athletic achievement has been a major goal of the Western sports-media complex for decades now.

(As an aside, as a white guy who likes Asian girls, the above is the main reason I find linsanity unpalatable.)

Steve Sailer said...

No, it was the 15 solo tackles. This play from that game was just the only video from his college career that I could quickly find on Youtube: some guy with a camcorder pointing it at his TV. Like I said, not a lot of Nguyensanity.

Antioco Dascalon said...

I agree with Truth that it was a confluence of factors, but one you didn't mention is, I think, important: the out-of-nowhere quality. In comparison to Nguyen, who was courted by powerhouse schools with scholarships while still in high school, Lin was ignored, even by Stanford, which was across the street. Even after an impressive performance at Harvard, Lin was not drafted, while Nguyen was drafted in the third round. Nguyen contributed immediately, while Lin was dropped to the development league several times and hardly touched the ball at Golden State. Then, suddenly, he scores the most points in his first 4 starts than anyone in modern NBA history. Dat Nguyen in contrast was a known factor, consistently exceeding expectations by, say 10% each season but not making quantum leaps. He was a great player at every level and wasn't really a surprise.
Lin was a shocker because rarely does a #1 draft pick perform so well, let alone an undrafted player, especially one that was dropped by 2 teams recently. He was so far off everyone's radar. The question on the first few days was "Where did he come from?" which was not asked of Dat.

eh said...

Maybe because there's been Samoan football players around for a while. So people got confused there.

Also the NBA has been so, err, black for such a long time, and without really any (?) Asian players of note before Yao Ming, who played center because he was tall. People think being tall gives you a leg up -- so to speak -- anyway. Which it does, Manute Bol being an example there -- IMO he could not really play, he was just tall.

Anonymous said...

Lin was a shocker because rarely does a #1 draft pick perform so well, let alone an undrafted player, especially one that was dropped by 2 teams recently. He was so far off everyone's radar.

There was a good chance that he was close to getting released by the Knicks. They were thinking of releasing him before his contract became guaranteed on February 10th so they could sign a new player. He really only got a chance to play because the Knicks were doing so poorly.

Peter said...

"But if you mean a dominant white superstar/scorer, then why wouldn't Nowitzki fit?
It can't be because he's non-American, since you go on to cite Steve Nash as a superstar play-maker."

Fans think of Nash as close enough to being American as to count as one. He's not clearly foreign, unlike Nowitzki.

The very first comment in this thread is so far the only one to touch on what I consider a big factor behind Linsanity - the fact that NBA games occur in such quick succession. NFL accomplishments covering a similar number of games would take almost a full season.

Anonymous said...

Felix you are laughable.

Judging by how vested you are in the "media sports machine devotes all its energy to promoting blacks" conspiracy theory it looks like you can't deal with black athleticism. It must be unbearable for you to see a super alpha Asian guy added to the mix.

And now Jeremy Lin will have at least a long career. Sorry you can't cope buddy.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Lomez, Nguyen was NOT playing amongst the first generation of Samoans. His career overlapped that of Lofa Tatupu, whose father Mosi was with the Patriots from 1978-1990.

ben tillman said...

Perhaps the greatest testement to Nguyen's ability was that he survived the coaching change from Campo to Parcells in Dallas. Parcells hates hates HATES small linebackers, but he had to make anexception for the 5'10" Nguyen.

Dahinda said...

If a pin drops in New York the whole world does not only hear about it, it gets the news shoved down its throat if it wants to or not!

Anonymous said...

Teddy Bruschi was one of the more notable white-Asian hybrids to play football (Greek and Phillipino) and he was a big guy.

Very well regarded by the Pats back when they were known to have a more powerful defense than offense.

ben tillman said...

Oh, and football is still full of guys who aren't black, esp. the most important one, the qb.

Basketball? There hasn't been a Larry Bird in a long while....


He's not Larry Bird, but the best player in the NBA is White. His name is Dirk Nowitzki.

...the John Stocktons and Steve Nashes of the NBA, appreciated though they are for their skills, are not the guys that win the game in the last seconds--they enable the others to win the game with their ball handling and passing skills.

The go-to guys for three of the top eight Western Conference teams are White: Ginobili in San Antonio, Dirk in Dallas, Gallinari in Denver.

Anonymous said...

"One more reason: he didn't play quarterback. Lin, on the other hand, has been the de facto team leader for the last week and a half."

Yep. Defense may do a lot of damage but doesn't score point. Scoring points get the real respect. So, if Dat Ngu had been quarterback or running back, maybe he would have gotten more respect. Dat sho hurt.

Anonymous said...

"Jeremy Lin actually is demonstrably Christian."

Media's okay with that, as with black Christianity. What media don't like is white Christianity. Non-whites hogging the light as Christians is something Libs like as Christianity goes from defacto white consciousness to multi-culti consciousness.

Anonymous said...

Though blacks be huge in football, it still aint a BLACK SPORT. But basketball has become a BLACK SPORT. So, it's the rise of a non-black, especially an Asian, is bigger news. Also, it's good for liberals preaching equality and diversity. I mean libs feel confused when their favorite sport happens to be mostly black with no diversity. Thus, the image of basketball is made more diverse with Lin. Also, Lin is not a freak like Yao. Yao's only reason for being in the game was size. Lin seems to have some moves.

It's like Obama was so precious to libs cuz there was such paucity of quality blacks at elite political level. He was the clean-cut black guy whites felt they could talk do, deal with.

Part of reason why elite libs support affirmative action is cuz if it weren't for such, elite levels of society would have almost no blacks. It'd be like Silicon Valley leadership. Now, that would be embarrassing for affluent and rich white/Jew liberals. They preach diversity but their world is so homogeneous. So, by affirmative action, the 'better blacks' are promoted and made to rub shoulders with white elites--and a big media thing is made of it--, and that creates the impression that white liberals are very inclusive.

Glaivester said...

For those who would like to know, Nguyen is pronounced "Nwhen."

Semi-employed White Guy said...

Truth said...
Someone mentioned Fernandomania with Valuenzuela, but I think it was a completely different era which is not comparable.


I can also remember a Fernando-like sensation sweeping the nation around Mark "The Bird" Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers in his rookie and only good season.

Anonymous said...

Thomson fumes about Boscars.

Peter said...

So, the biggest net effect of Lin's rise will not be to make Asians feel good about themselves athletically but to expose them to BLACK athletic superiority ...
(As an aside, as a white guy who likes Asian girls, the above is the main reason I find linsanity unpalatable.)


Is your fear that Asian girls will become interested in black men instead, as they become increasingly exposed to their athletic prowess?

Anonymous said...

I think the timing of Lin's ascent to stardom has also helped. This is the absolute low point of the sports calendar in America. The NFL just ended; March Madness is a month away and spring training is a few weeks off too. While his story would be talked and written about regardless of when it happened, I do think that it taking place in mid February when nothing else is going on sports wise, has had an impact...The NBA is smart to market this to the hilt. Apparently Lin will now be participating in 3 all star events, including serving as an 'assistant' to a teammate in the dunk contest.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a good deal of artistic freedom in Iran. In some ways, more than over here, what with PC. And did anyone see TATE OF OTHER, the French movie? A paean to PC. Sickening.

Anonymous said...

All the reasons mentioned above are valid, but this story has transcended sports because of how improbable it is.

He got cut by two teams, was a week away from getting cut by the Knicks, and only got playing time because of Baron Davis gimp back.

Amares brother's death and Carmelos strained groin just as Lin got playing time, put all the pressure on him to win and then he puts up 38 against Kobe and the Lakers.

The truth is, sorry Mayweather, this story is good enough to propel anyone to megastardom regardless of race. When you think of all the things that fell into place and the odds that were against him it is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"As an aside, as a white guy who likes Asian girls, the above is the main reason I find linsanity unpalatable."


Shouldn't worry you too much - the Asian community knows that guys in your genre are never fussy about the quality of your paramours.

Auntie Analogue said...

To DaveinHackensack: Thank you for enlightening me to Lin's Christianity. Had I been aware of it I'd not have ventured the hypthesis in my earlier comment.

My ignorance of Lin's faith is a consequence my following sports only superficially, since I consider them to be just another crumb or sideshow from among Media-Pravda's relentelessly marketed 'panis et circenses' distractions.

Anonymous said...

You're missing an important aspect of the story. You don't get Asians large enough to play football or basketball unless they are mixed race.

What planet do you live on?

Obviously one that doesn't include Korea or Northern China.

Even Vietnam produces the occasional large male with the size and build suited to football or basketball.

Robert Holmgren said...

Dat was good.

Brent Buckner said...

The Lin story comes up mid-season, and with someone who had pretty much been overlooked. Lin's route to his first NBA start seems quite unlikely, and in my limited understanding expectations were low- to non-existent. The story makes a good fit with the zeitgeist of _Moneyball_, which is holding a lot of mind-share just now.

Anonymous said...

Many more Chinese can afford box seats and season tickets at pro ball stadiums. As they become disproportionately a larger fraction of the 1%ers, it's critical that the NFL and NBA pander to them by hyping the importance of Chinese players, who will certainly stand out because of their rarity.

jody said...

"There hasn't been a Larry Bird in a long while"

not if you went by what ESPN told you, no.

but i do vaguely remember dirk nowitzki outplaying lebron james, dwayne wade, kevin durant, and kobe bryant, head to head, back to back to back, straight up, less than 1 year ago, and winning the NBA championship and the NBA finals MVP.

coverage of these events has been, predictably, nearly wiped clean from ESPN records. in most other US sports media, which is sycophantic in the extreme to black american hoopsters, records have also been expunged. pretty sure eldrick woods will receive roughly one thousand times as much coverage on the year, as every news outlet breathlessly awaits his next struggle to win an event.

Anonymous said...

Many more Chinese can afford box seats and season tickets at pro ball stadiums. As they become disproportionately a larger fraction of the 1%ers, it's critical that the NFL and NBA pander to them by hyping the importance of Chinese players, who will certainly stand out because of their rarity.

Like Jewish baseball players at one time?

MQ said...

coverage of these events has been, predictably, nearly wiped clean from ESPN records. in most other US sports media, which is sycophantic in the extreme to black american hoopsters, records have also been expunged.

Huh? There is a giant conspiracy to cover up the Mavericks win over the Heat. Which was the biggest story in basketball last fall, the highest-rated finals in years, and absolutely everyone in the basketball world was crowing about?

On Jeremy Lin: he is a big deal, not a fluke. He was more successful (measured statistically) in his first games started than ANYONE since the NBA-ABA merger, including Jordan and LeBron. He took a team that looked well out of the playoff race and brought them right back into it with 7 wins. He's also, of course, te point guard for one of the most storied and central franchises in basketball.

Anonymous said...

Oh for heaven's sake. I am as cynical about the liberal media as it is possible to be, I see a hidden agenda everywhere, but not here.

You have a kid who was cut from two teams in December. Who was playing in the D Leagues. Who graduated from Harvard, the most iconic of all the Ivy League schools. Who by a series of flukes in February plays in the NBA in the middle of the biggest media market in the world. And, six weeks after being cut, he makes more points in his first five games than any rookie in the history of the game. He proceeds to lead a losing team to seven straight victories.

And you want to compare that to a defensive college football player, even if he's a star, just becuase they're both Asian?

This is a great Horatio Alger story, w/ the additional frison that it's a Chinese American in a black game. But first and foremost, it's a great story.

beowulf said...

Also, nobody talks about Dat Phu who was the starting QB for the Atlanta Falcons from 1974-1981"

That's because, while a undergrad at Berkeley, he changed his name to Steve Bartkowski.

helene edwards said...

Chien Ming-Wang won 19 games in consecutive seasons for the Yankees, and who ever mentioned him outside New York? Steve, do you eat dim sum?

not a hacker said...

Truth is right!

Truth don't know nuthin. He lives in New Mex. but has never mentioned the 1981 Albuquerque Dukes, the greatest minor league baseball team of all time. They even beat the Dodgers, the eventual World Series Champs, 1-0.

MC said...

Ichiro was actually pretty highly hyped (rightfully so). My guess is that if Twitter and Facebook were around in 2001, he would have achieved even greater levels of hype.

Anonymous said...

"There hasn't been a Larry Bird in a long while"
--------
"not if you went by what ESPN told you, no.

"but i do vaguely remember dirk nowitzki outplaying lebron james, dwayne wade, kevin durant, and kobe bryant, head to head, back to back to back, straight up, less than 1 year ago, and winning the NBA championship and the NBA finals MVP."
--------

Point well-taken. Believe it or not, I was going to mention Nowitzki, then paused, not ready to put him in Bird's class. Still, in Bird's class or not, heck of a player, and yes, that he's white might blunt some of the news coverage, but I do think that ESPN covered his "not choking this time in the playoffs" quite a bit last season after the Mavs had won the crown.

Anonymous said...

"In addition, there I would say that over the course of my lifetime, there have been four athletes who have achieved this level of hype; LeBron James last year, Brett Favre, and Tim Tebow."

And I'd add Mark McGwire for one season.

Anonymous said...

"(As an aside, as a white guy who likes Asian girls, the above is the main reason I find linsanity unpalatable.)"

Case and point highlighting the gradual decline of White Male America.

For most of the 18-34 demographics, I see a bunch of insecure pansies (whether WASP or Jews) who prefer skinny jeans, metrosexuality, and other emasculated SWPL schtick. Especially in places like CA/NY/WA, I'd say this description is quite fitting for 85% of said demographic.

Whatever happened to the good ole' days of the Billy Bobs and Cletuses toting guns, driving Dukes and Hazzard Cars, and scaring colored folks off with fresh hoods. Did the libs really do a number on y'all?

Geoff Matthews said...

I think the time between games is also playing a difference. 7 games in two weeks packs a lot of highlights, so momentum on excitement can build.
I think that being in New York plays more of a role than you are giving it.
But when these things happen, I think of David Archer, who lead the Atlanta Falcons, back in '86, to a 4-0 start. There was a big deal of excitement, and someone in Atlanta was building a statue of him for his home town.
They finished the season 7-9. No idea if the statue was finished.
That was my attitude with Kurt Warner, until he got to the playoffs.

Jacob Roberson said...

You're all forgetting the financial "war" going on with China right now - in the case of this guy Nguyen, 1998 was a long way from the Vietnam War.

Anonymous said...

That way, the kid will have hangtime and be well-hung.

Felix said...

Is your fear that Asian girls will become interested in black men instead, as they become increasingly exposed to their athletic prowess?

I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "fear" or even a concern, more like a simple realization that this might be the case. I've been to China and want to go back to live there for the medium term. Right now, white dudes >> black dudes as far as desirability to Chinese/Asian girls is concerned. Since I'm a heterosexual white male and I've got an eye for the Asian wimmin, it's clear that from sheer self interest I should not welcome a phenomenon that might lead to a male of my characteristics becoming less desirable compared to males of other characteristics (black). I think the logic here is pretty boolean and does not make strange leaps, right?

P.S. for all the Asian males on here: don't hate, appreciate that I like your women. lol.

Mr Lomez said...

"Mr. Lomez, Nguyen was NOT playing amongst the first generation of Samoans."

The very best and most famous linebacker of Nguyen's era was Tianina Baul Seau Jr. whose grandfather was a village chief in Pago Pago.

Anonymous said...

Why the difference in public reactions? Why no Nguyensanity?


NYC is the media capital of the world. All sports figures who ply their trade in New York have a higher profile (and often, salary) than they would elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

What about sexism? Finally some
Asian male star in NBA but where be the ho, bro?

Anonymous said...

Dat sho is cold.

Anonymous said...

One problem here is the default assumption that race is a driving force. When all things are taken into consideration race is minor. He came out of nowhere to be a star is the central narrative. So comparing him to Nguyen is just inapt.

Anonymous said...

Arne Duncan (played ball for Harvard) wants to use Jeremy Lin to sell the idea of soft bigotry of low expectations.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/story/2012-02-15/how-did-everyone-miss-jeremy-lin/53124082/1

Anonymous said...

The Lin story raises serious questions about the widely accepted belief that sports is a pure meritocracy where the best always rise to the top. It took a lot of luck for Lin to be be given the chance to show what he can do.

How many more Lin's (meaning non blacks, in this context) are out there who have not been give the same opportunity?

Anonymous said...

"The Lin story raises serious questions about the widely accepted belief that sports is a pure meritocracy where the best always rise to the top. It took a lot of luck for Lin to be be given the chance to show what he can do."

NOTHING is pure meritocracy. Also, Lin was something of a late bloomer, I think.

Anonymous said...

I think is both a victim and beneficiary of sports system. Being Asian, many have figured he doesn't have the goods. But now that he's shown he's got some goods, he's been way overpraised.

Anonymous said...

Felix: for all the Asian males on here: don't hate, appreciate that I like your women.


Felix there's no getting around it. It's not your preference. It's just you can only barely get some action by hitting up foreign girls who can barely speak English and are dumpy looking.

And don't hate me. I get a lot of passive aggressive douchebaggery from guys like you. Whenever I'm out with my girlfriend (who is white), it's the dweeby bottom half of white guys like you who always have this creepy, long, direct stare.

Anonymous said...

I get a lot of passive aggressive douchebaggery from guys like you. Whenever I'm out with my girlfriend (who is white), it's the dweeby bottom half of white guys like you who always have this creepy, long, direct stare.

If any of them challenged you to single combat with a 10 inch blade plus a 15 meter length of strong cordage, in a wooded area large enough to permit strategy, with each party entering from opposite sides of the area and only one leaving, would you accept the challenge? Or are you one of these pseudo-alphas who likes to act all tough?

Anonymous said...

"And don't hate me. I get a lot of passive aggressive douchebaggery from guys like you. Whenever I'm out with my girlfriend (who is white), it's the dweeby bottom half of white guys like you who always have this creepy, long, direct stare".

To be fair, dweeby guys of all colors tend to give creeper-like stares when they feel one of their last bastion of a possible date is compromised.

As one poster originally noted, many white males have indeed become a lot more beta over the years which can reinforce the growing presence of the douchebaggery you mentioned as the pool of nubile white girls decline (mainly due to lower white birthrates) and open season by all minorities (even seen South Asians now) are raging at full force.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is that Lin's devout Christianity doesn't seem anywhere near as threatening to those on the left as Tebow's. Bill Maher, for example, who has mocked Tebow, has been eating up the Lin highlights.

Wait Bill Maher is racist?

Truth said...

"The Lin story raises serious questions about the widely accepted belief that sports is a pure meritocracy where the best always rise to the top. It took a lot of luck for Lin to be be given the chance to show what he can do."

Maybe, but he made it. As did Welker, Woodhead, and a host of other you guys are always whining about. Millionaire professional owners do not have any great reason to prevent the best players from playing, and the reason you haven't made it to the top of your field, is because you aren't very good.

Truth said...

"If any of them challenged you to single combat with a 10 inch blade plus a 15 meter length of strong cordage..."

Did you mean to say any of THEM or any of US.

Anonymous said...

"Or are you one of these pseudo-alphas who likes to act all tough?"

?

Are you referring to Latino betas who aren't allowed into their block's inner city gangs and have chips on their shoulders?

Or are you talking about Lacoste wearing frat "bros" from the suburbs who bitch out 90% of the time when challenged to a fight? Just curious.

(not the OP of that quote btw).

Anonymous said...

"I get a lot of passive aggressive douchebaggery from guys like you. Whenever I'm out with my girlfriend (who is white), it's the dweeby bottom half of white guys like you who always have this creepy, long, direct stare."

"If any of them challenged you to single combat with a 10 inch blade plus a 15 meter length of strong cordage, in a wooded area large enough to permit strategy, with each party entering from opposite sides of the area and only one leaving, would you accept the challenge? Or are you one of these pseudo-alphas who likes to act all tough?"

Hahahaha. Rotfl. Mad magazine used to have Spy vs Spy. This is Dweeb vs Dweeb. Only dweebs talk like this.
10 inch blade, 15 m cordage. Lmao. Why not light saber vs mecha blaster? Go all the way. Don't hide your geek fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Why not light saber vs mecha blaster? Go all the way. Don't hide your geek fantasies.

Death Star vs. Hand of Omega

Anonymous said...

10 inch blade, 15 m cordage. Lmao. Why not light saber vs mecha blaster? Go all the way. Don't hide your geek fantasies.

Because the blade and cordage isn't for play.

The intent is to give challenger and challenged the equal opportunity they would have in nature — if no human society existed. The terrain is to be varied and extensive enough to permit strategy with each side entering from opposite sides and only one returning alive.

trey said...

Antioco was the first to point out a very, very important variable. Lin was deep on the bench and through some flukes got a chance and delivered majorly.

Hacienda said...

Just wait. I see an Asian dream basketball team not too long in the future. Yao Mings and Jeremy Lins. Enjoy your brief gangster basketball culture blackboys. 1960-2020. Asians have just starting to get interested in vanquishing that miserable sh+t.

Black Sea said...

"Did you mean to say any of THEM or any of US."

Truth is on a Lin-like streak himself these days; I don't know why some commenters periodically want him banned.

BTW, his comment was even funnier once I realized that the "blade and cordage" fantasy wasn't satire, which I had taken it for the first time around.

Anonymous said...

I think you've written about Kevin Love before.

He's been playing very well, averaging 25.8 pts (4th in league) and 14.2 rebounds (2nd).

Anonymous said...

I think this is a thoughtful blog post by an intelligent and discerning individual. After all, consider the innumerable celebrated NFL undrafted linebackers from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and MIT (intramurals) who were lionized after single-handedly leading a bad team to seven straight victories. For instance... um... well... My memory is a little rusty here. But, white or black linebackers like... ... ...

Damn. Well anyway, you get my point (if you get my point, please explain it to me.)

jody said...

"Like Jewish baseball players at one time?"

omri casspi says hi.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Lin: My Tiger Mother Expects 45 Points Per Game
 
 
Jeremy Lin, the out-of-nowhere New York Knicks point guard taking the NBA by storm, has expressed "frustration" with his mother's incessant calls for increased production.
 
Lin scored more points in his first 4 games than any player since the ABA-NBA merger, but "it still ain't enough for mom."
 
Mothers of Chinese heritage typically expect their kids to overachieve at everything. This characteristic was explained by Amy Chua's book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Every day, Chua's two daughters practiced violin 4 hours, studied geometry 2 hours, read political commentary 2 hours, studied science 4 hours and enjoyed 8 minutes of "whatever time."
 
The daughters also found time to dominate their elementary basketball leagues, averaging 48 and 46 points per game, respectively.
 
The other night, Lin hit a last-second 3-pointer to beat the Toronto Raptors. But his mother was reportedly "furious" at Lin's two rebounds.
 
His mother, known as Ms. Lin, made Jeremy perform Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 and Vivaldi's Four Seasons - all while reciting the periodic table of elements.
 
"Two rebounds? He's 6-foot-3. Next time he pulls that shit, I'm voiding his NBA contract and making him learn Spanish, Greek and Russian in 4 weeks, just for the hell of it."
 
A haggard-looking Lin appeared sluggish at the Knicks' shoot-around session after the 6-hour solo concert. "If I don't drop 50 points on the Nets later this season, mom's gonna make me do some Mahler, Stravinsky, Telemann and some other dude's symphony - violin, piano, the whole damn works. I'd rather just go out on the town with Amar'e Stoudemire and pick up chicks, but such is life with a Tiger Mom."

Anonymous said...

This funny--seems some things get through even the pc network police:

http://news.yahoo.com/espn-sorry-offensive-headline-lin-story-160028146--spt.html

ESPN, after Lin's 9 turnover performance uses headline which reads, "Chink in the armor."

Suppose the headline writers were drunk, like the guys that write celebrity obituaries for newspapers years before the people die?

Truth said...

Thanks, Black Sea.

Anonymous said...

World of Warcraft and other stuff have made all guys in their prime ages way more dorky.

Does the average 18 year old in Kansas now spend at least 6 hours playing WoW?

Anonymous said...

Like Jewish baseball players at one time?

Amar'e Stoudemire is Jewish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fLGab2K9jM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzWCA8Vo3lQ

Anonymous said...

Felix: I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "fear" or even a concern, just some thing I need to share more than once, since I am worried I will have an even harder time picking up Asian girls who in their home countries would be compared to laundresses and housekeepers but to me are princesses, and there aren't enough of them to go around.

MQ said...

I think you've written about Kevin Love before. He's been playing very well, averaging 25.8 pts (4th in league) and 14.2 rebounds (2nd).

Was waiting for someone to bring him up. He's among the ten best players in the league right now. Been a while since an American-born white could say that. But he gets little attention because he plays in Minnesota. Minnesota is doing surprisingly well (.500 team after sucking for some time) off two white/Euro players, Love and Ricky Rubio. They really don't have anyone else who is particularly good.