Jeremy Lin scored 38 points tonight, a career-time high. I watched it live with my family. Jeremy and his team beat Kobe, the fourth Knicks victory in a row.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, nor will I wait to say this: Jeremy Lin is the Joe Louis of our time. I remember reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, where Malcolm talks about the pride he felt when Joe Louis won the heavyweight crown. Well, we’re living in a different time, and we’re a different culture, but I’ll say it out loud: Jeremy Lin is our Joe Louis, whatever that means. These days no one cares about the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, no one cares about the MMA champion of the world. Instead, we value style and intelligence combined with style, size, and efficiency. In terms of the impact, Jeremy is the apotheosis of Asian American athletic achievement. In the world of sports, there is no bigger achievement than winning in basketball. And the fact that he beat Kobe is huge.
Yes, we’ve had our Michael Chang. We’ve had our Apolo Ohno. And they are great athletes. But this is basketball. Basketball is the biggest sport in America, a sport where even in a team sport an individual can shine brighter than on any other stage. Eli Manning is no Michael Jordan. The fact is that within our culture, basketball is the world’s most prestigious stage.
The racists have already come out (e.g. Jason Whitlock). But who gives a shit? Really. One of our people just achieved an amazing feat on the world’s biggest stage, and that’s what matters most.