Racism is a Problem in the Modern NBA

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Racism is a problem in the modern day NBA; just ask Jeremy Lin. Lin is Asian-American, as well as the first American born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. He has faced heavy criticism for his play this season, despite his respectable numbers of 10 PPG and 6.3 APG, after not being able to duplicate his success with the New York Knicks this season with the Houston Rockets.

“I was a little surprised [by the criticism], but I wasn’t shocked. I honestly feel it’s part of the underlying issue of race in American society … of being an Asian-American. …I haven’t figured it out. I haven’t wrapped my head around it. But it’s something I’m thinking about,” Lin said. “I’ve always been a target. Everyone looks me and says, ‘I’m not going to let that Asian kid embarrass me. I’m going to go at him.’ That’s how it’s been my whole life. This has been different, though. Now, I was on the scouting report. People started to pay attention to what I could and couldn’t do. But a target? I was used to that. I’m not saying I get everyone’s best shot, but I would say people don’t want to be embarrassed by me because of my skin color.

Amid the craze known as “Linsanity” last season, Lin lead the dysfunctional Knicks to an 8 game win streak, lighting up Deron Williams for 25 points in his breakout game, hitting a buzzer beating 3PT shot against the Toronto Raptors, and dropping 38 points and dishing out 7 assists against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers after Bryant declared that he “didn’t know who Lin was.” before the game.

The memories and special moments that Lin gave NBA fans all over the world will live on forever. However, with success comes criticism. Boxer Floyd Mayweather said, in the midst of the craze, that if Lin were African-American, things would be different.

 ”Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise,” wrote Mayweather.

I strongly disagree. Name me, if you can, another player (of any nationality) who put up at least 20 points and seven assists in their first four career starts (NBA record), or scored 109 points in those starts (the most in NBA history), or averaged 26.8 points and 8 assists in their first chance to really play after being cut from two teams in the same season.

Black, white, Asian, or whatever nationality you want to throw out there, look at the numbers: Jeremy Lin is a good player.

It’s time to stop using race as a factor in evaluations of basketball talent, as is sometimes done with the case of Lin. There will always be different races, nationalities, and players of different backgrounds that make up the NBA, but on the court, everyone should be one color.

Follow Thomas Duffy on Twitter @TD_Knicks for articles, news, and all things NBA.

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