“There aren’t many basketball stars who step off the bench and directly into the dictionary,” begins 60 Minutes’s Jeremy Lin story — only slightly belated.
The part that’s probably most interesting is when Lin talks, frankly, about race and stereotyping. This from the show’s transcript:
He was named California Player of the Year. And he could pass and shoot, plus was incredibly fast. But when it came time to look at colleges, not a single Division One program came calling with a scholarship.
Charlie Rose: Not one PAC-10 team?
Jeremy Lin: No.
Charlie Rose: Not UCLA. Not Stanford, your hometown?
Jeremy Lin: No.
Charlie Rose: What do you think they didn’t see
Jeremy Lin: Well, I think the obvious thing is– in my mind is that I was Asian American which, you know, is a whole different issue but that’s– I think that was a barrier.
Charlie Rose: When you say because you’re an Asian American, what is that? But there’s nothing about being Asian American that doesn’t give you the ability to play basketball.
Jeremy Lin: Yeah. I mean, it is just– I mean, it’s just– it’s a stereotype.
Stereotypes are nothing new for Lin. Growing up, he was often the only Asian player on his teams, and frequently heard racial slurs from opponents on the court.
Charlie Rose: What would they say? What kind of things would–
Jeremy Lin: Pretty much anything you could think of from stereotypical, you know, Asian food, you know making fun of my complexion, my skin color, or, you know, the way Asians look, pretty much everything.
Lin believes that if he were black or white he would have had multiple scholarship offers, including one from his hometown’s Stanford University. But Stanford’s offer was for a walk-on opportunity — while Harvard, like all Ivy League schools, could not offer a sports scholarship. It did offer a place on the team.
Give it a watch or read.