Tag Archives: NBA

Race Against The Machine: Jeremy Lin And The NBA’s Savior Myth

By Arturo R. García

In his own graceless way, Floyd Mayweather and his tasteless remarks about Jeremy Lin brought something new to light: maybe the best comparison point for the young New York Knicks guard isn’t Tim Tebow. Maybe it’s Larry Bird. With the link, however unpalatable, coming from tensions the NBA has tiptoed around for decades.

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Linvicible On The Court, Not To Realities Of Race

 

By Guest Contributor Sonita Moss

Racism is a funny thing – by funny I mean haha funny, as in, it’s funny when you’re not on the other end of it. In my experience, folks sometimes try to use their understanding of race to build bonds. Unfortunately, what comes across is race as a representation of difference that creates a chasm to be bridged through the awkward offering of stereotypes. As if snapping their fingers and saying ‘oh no he di-int’ in my face will endear them to me. From that statement alone, I’m sure you can guess my race. Such is life for people of color in America, however we want to deny it behind idealistic dreams of ‘post racial America’, race still matters, even for the model minority.

Jeremy Lin, the Taiwanese-American Harvard alum who is taking the world by storm as the new point guard for the New York Knicks, has not been shielded from everyday experiences that POCs face. In a candid NPR interview he gave back in 2010 whilst playing for Harvard’s basketball team, he shared the racial slurs that fans would toss at him: Go back to China; Chinese import;  Can you see the scoreboard?

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The God Squad: Tim Tebow, Jeremy Lin, And Religiosity Of Sports

By Guest Contributor Dr. David J. Leonard

Among the virtual saturation of Jeremy Lin online has been a poster of him with the words “We are all witnesses.” At Monday’s New York Knicks game, fans donned “black T-shirts that read “The Jeremy Lin Show” on the front” and “We Believe” painted on the back.

Encapsulating the hoopla and hype, while referencing the similar promise that LeBron James brought to Cleveland and the NBA (how’d that work out?), not to mention the spectacle of his meteoric rise, “the witness” iteration illustrates the religious overtones playing through the media coverage.

Since Lin emerged on the national scene while at Harvard, he has made his faith and religious identity quite clear. While refusing to abandon the “underdog” story, Cork Gaines focuses readers attention on his religious beliefs: “But there is more to Jeremy Lin than just being an undrafted Asian-American point guard out of Harvard. He is also a devout Christian that has previously declared that he plays for the glory of God and someday hopes to be a pastor.” Noting how post-game interviews often begin with Lin announcing his faith – “just very thankful to Jesus Christ, [his] Lord and savior” – Gaines uses this opportunity to deploy the often noted comparison that Jeremy Lin is the NBA’s Tim Tebow.

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Growing Up In J-Lin Nation

By Guest Contributor Vivian Lu

My spark of excitement over Jeremy Lin’s baller performances this week for the New York Knicks has taken me off guard.

My Asian American friends and I are living through this with an excitement I never thought possible. It’s a story many of us in Asian America have been following with a spare ear since Lin’s beginnings from Palo Alto High School through his four years at Harvard and now in the NBA. I only ever made it to one Columbia basketball game during college; it was versus Harvard, to watch Lin play, after he had already been blowing up the Asian American blogosphere.

After stints with the Golden Gate Warriors and the Houston Rockets, Lin’s move to the Knicks this season was met with not-so-subtle commentary suggesting it was a “marketing move” by the Knicks – a move made to draw in New York City’s large Asian American population.
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What Hockey Fans Think About Basketball

By Guest Contributor Kristen Wright

On June 15, the Boston Bruins defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. And on the previous Sunday, June 12, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to secure the franchise’s first championship. The media has celebrated both victories as a triumph of grit and hard work over finesse and pure talent.

The streets of Vancouver may have erupted after the Canucks’ loss, but the team’s most potent offensive weapons – twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin – were relatively silent throughout the Finals. The twins combined for two goals, three assists, and a minus- 4 rating during the Finals, but multiple writers came to their defense when commentator Mike Milbury referred to them as ‘Thelma and Louise’ (an inaccurate and offensive reference to their poor play) during a broadcast. Miami Heat superstar LeBron James has his defenders, but much more ink has been spilled over his shortcomings. While Dallas role players like JJ Barea and DeShawn Stevenson played over their heads, LeBron failed to live up to his hype.

Drafted 1st overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft, James was supposed to be the savior of a struggling franchise. He initially appeared to deliver on this promise, leading the Cavaliers to the playoffs every season between 2006 and 2010. The Cavs even made the 2007 NBA Finals, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

Last summer, LeBron became a free agent. After being courted by numerous NBA organizations, he announced his decision to join the Miami Heat during an hour-long special entitled The Decision. The program was widely ridiculed as a lengthy and unnecessary spectacle, and basketball greats like Michael Jordan argued that it was inappropriate for LeBron to join a team of rivals in an attempt to chase a championship.

But other criticism of James has come from the hockey world. Sam Fels, a Chicago Blackhawks blogger, wrote a piece on his blog Second City Hockey entitled “Viewing LeBron” (on NBC Chicago later cross-posted the piece under the title “What Hockey Fans Think of LeBron”). In his piece, Fels argued that hockey fans are turned off by the “bombast” of LeBron’s free agency and of the basketball culture in general.
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The Big Chill: Shaquille O’Neal Retires

By Arturo R. García

Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement from professional basketball Wednesday in the video posted above, telling his fans, “We did it. Nineteen years, baby. Thank you very much. That’s why I’m telling you first: I’m about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon.”

O’Neal leaves the NBA with four world championships under his belt, capping a resume that includes 28,596 points scored – good for fifth place on the all-time scoring list – along with 14 All-NBA Team selections, 15 All-Star Game selections, an Olympic gold medal and 13,099 rebounds. But – and this is a guess – it’s perhaps more satisfying for O’Neal that he was able to one-up his idol, Wilt Chamberlain: not only did he win, not only did he command attention, but he got people to “root for Goliath,” defying Chamberlain’s famous lament.
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Race, Sports, Music and Immigration Rights Collide In Atlanta

By Arturo R. García

Before it even took place, the irony of the Atlanta Braves hosting a civil rights celebration Sunday had been pointed out, not just because of the team’s name, but because of Georgia’s recent enactment of House Bill 87.

The bill, modeled after Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, targets undocumented immigrants and their employers, and had set off a controversy even before Carlos Santana, being honored by Major League Baseball at the game, took the opportunity to speak out against both laws. But as it turns out, the Mexican-born singer wasn’t the first pop-culture figure to do so.
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Donald Sterling Wants To Welcome You To Black History Month

By Arturo R. García

If you’ve ever wished black history could be celebrated every month, the L.A. Clippers are feeling you – sorta.

No, that picture (via Ball Don’t Lie) is not a fake. It’s a real advert the Clips paid for and ran in the Los Angeles Times this past Sunday, promoting their Black History Month “celebration” … on March 2.

It’s tough to say what’s worse: that the Times would run this ad, or the fact that the typo isn’t even the worst thing about it.

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