Lin brings talent, race, and questionable puns to the forefront

Insanity is the best way to describe the media attention NBA basketball player, Jeremy Lin, is receiving during his breakout performance over the past few weeks. However, if you happen to be a fan of puns, “Linsanity” may be more appropriate. In Lin’s first few games he single-handedly rejuvenated life into the stale New York Knicks team. But, only time will tell if Lin is the real deal.

It’s easy for Americans to jump on the bandwagon of a winning player. Audiences want to see a winner, so the media provides constant coverage of that player on and off the court.

As we’ve started to see with Lin and past ESPN hog, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, sometimes the inundation of coverage can be burdensome.

In Tebow’s case, the amount of face-time he received last season was more of a joke than anything. Analysts were stumped by Tebow’s winning streak while playing so poorly. A successful NFL quarterback doesn’t complete just two of eight passes in a game and expect to win. But Tebow did, and the Broncos managed to have an undefeated run that helped lead them to a surprising playoff run.

Lin is filling in for the Knicks injured star Carmelo Anthony.

Yet, Lin is putting up better numbers than Anthony was when he was healthy. Since Lin’s start he’s been the top scorer in the NBA, outscoring all-stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. The Knicks had their own undefeated stretch as well.

Besides their ability to win, the back-stories for Lin and Tebow only make them more appealing. Lin is a Harvard graduate who wasn’t able to find playing time anywhere. He was living on his brother’s couch.

Tebow was a college football star that many believed couldn’t handle the NFL. But Broncos fans wanted to see him get a chance.

Also, both players are devout Christians whose strong beliefs have convinced many to believe God is on their side.

It’s easy to draw comparisons between the two players. But the glaring question is whether they deserve the media frenzy.

Besides being an incredible player, Lin has something that Tebow doesn’t have. Lin is a minority in his sport. He’s one of the few Chinese-American players in the NBA ever to perform this well.

It’s unfortunate that race still plays a factor in the conversation. Lin is one of a very few NBA players of Asian descent, but this shouldn’t take precedent to his play.

Once race is brought into the equation we get respected news outlets making mistakes, like ESPN’s recent racial slur headline blunder, “Chink In The Armor,” that suck the fun out of it. Los Angeles Times sports columnist, Bill Plaschke, drives home the subtle racial overtones associated with Lin by saying, “Jeremy Lin has dribbled America into the previously quiet corner of its casual prejudice and lazy stereotypes of Asian Americans.”

Race and puns aside, I hope the media restrains itself when covering Lin and future big stars. Lin is a great story, but so was Tebow until we were overwhelmed with coverage.

Towards the end, Tebow was easier to dislike more than anything. The more the media gently spoon-feeds us “Linformation” instead of forcing it down our throats, the more we can appreciate his talent.

Chase Doerr is a senior journalism major and assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.


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