Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. tweeted on Monday that New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin, whose success has inspired the national phenomenon known as “Linsanity,” is getting disproportionate attention just because he’s Asian American.
“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,” Mayweather wrote.
Well, maybe Lin’s ethnicity — in addition to his talent and his unconventional and seemingly sudden rise to NBA stardom — is part of it. And guess what? That’s OK. Feeling inspired and getting excited when someone challenges our stereotypes about a particular group is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s normal to look up and notice when barriers are broken in sports, in politics or in any other realm.
Even Jason Whitlock, who tweeted a juvenile and racist joke about Lin, seemed to get it in the apology he issued on Sunday, explaining:
I get Linsanity. I’ve cried watching Tiger Woods win a major golf championship. Jeremy Lin, for now, is the Tiger Woods of the NBA. I suspect Lin makes Asian Americans feel the way I feel when I watch Tiger play golf.
I should’ve realized that Friday night when I watched Lin torch the Lakers. For Asian Americans and a lot of sports fans, his nationally televised 38-point outburst was the equivalent of Tiger’s first victory in The Masters. I got caught up in the excitement …
We’re all entitled to get caught up in that excitement, to acknowledge that race is one factor fueling it and to keep on cheering.
Read more at the Huffington Post.