Success Of Jeremy Lin Essay

Jeremy Lin has become the star since his first games played for Knicks. At the same time, the appearance of the first Asian American star in the NBA evoked controversies concerning the perception of Asian Americans in the NBA, in American sports, mass media and culture at large. The NBA seemed to overcome the crisis of the racial discrimination and biased attitude to players but the appearance of Jeremy Lin, the Asian American basketball star, has evoked the stir in the NBA and mass media again because some media admitted quite controversial comments in regard to Jeremy Lin, while the public became even more provocative in comments and sayings concerning the Asian American basketball player. Therefore, the rise of Jeremy Lin’s star in the NBA has revived the debate over the persistence of racism in the NBA and the US mass media as well as in the American culture and the public.

The emergence of comments of the racist nature and the biased, prejudiced attitude to Jeremy Lin as the Asian American basketball player have emerged from deep-rooted biases which affect the perception of Asian Americans and, especially Asian American men in American culture and society (Wachs & Dworkin, 1997). One of the distinct features in the attitude of the American culture and public to Asian American men is the purposeful underestimation of their male features and the formation of the hypo masculinity image by mass media. In this regard, there are many instances in films, television and other media, where Asian or Asian American men are depicted as being de-masculinized and desexualized (Kim, 2013). The masculine features of Asian characters in films, for example, were often suppressed, while Asian Americans traditionally play secondary parts in films, shows and other entertainment projects (Chito, 2012). The public turns out to be vulnerable to such biased representation of Asian Americans and Asian American men in particular. As a result, the US public has quite a prejudiced attitude to Asian Americans and, when Jeremy Lin emerged as the new NBA star, the attitude of mass media and the public to the new star was not always objective, but, in some cases, quite prejudiced, if not to say racist.

On analyzing the perception and comments on Jeremy Lin in the US mass media, including the analysis of the news coverage in print, television and online media, it is possible to reveal instances of racist or race-related issues that arise in regard to Jeremy Lin. In this regard, it is worth mentioning one of the most controversial references to Jeremy Lin in the heading posted by ESPN on the official website of the company “Chink in the Armor”. The heading was too controversial and caused the severe criticism of ESPN that had to reject claims and allegations that defined such heading as racist by nature. Nevertheless, such reference to the Asian American player evoked quite obvious and racist associations in the general public and that was evident.

Another quite frequently used reference to Jeremy Lin is “Yellow peril” which is also racist by its nature and gives implications to the prejudiced attitude of the US public to the basketball player of Asian descent. The term “yellow” was traditionally used with the reference to Asian in the US. This reference persists and the appearance of Jeremy Lin proves that this term is still used. The “yellow peril” is still the manifestation of the racist attitude of the public to Asian American players like Jeremy Lin.

Furthermore, the appearance and the early success of Lin brought into mass media the term ‘Linsanity’ which was attributed to Jeremy but, at the same time, gave implications that the success of the Asian American player was absolutely unexpected in the NBA. In this regard, the biased attitude of mass media and the public to Asian American basketball players and Asian American men at large becomes particularly obvious. The success of Jeremy Lin was sensational. In fact, Jeremy has managed to ruin the deep-rooted myth that Asian American basketball players cannot be successful, while the sport is dominated by African American or white players only. Such a view on the NBA was traditional and grounded on stereotypes. One of the main reasons for such stereotyping is the traditional view on Asian and Asian American sportsmen as being physically unable to compete with African American or white American players because of their physical features. In other words, the dominant public view on Asian American basketball players in the NBA was grounded on the biased perception of Asian American men and their traditional perception as de-masculinized. As a result, the public just did not believe that Asian players could gain success in the NBA, while Jeremy Lin has broken that biased view on Asian players.

On the other hand, he still fails to debunk myths and to overcome biases persisting in the US society and mass media. His success rather uncovered the full extent to which the US mass media and public remain being prejudiced and biased in relation to Asian Americans and Asian American men. Often comments, news coverage involving Jeremy Lin and just news items covered in media as well as comments and signs used by the public during matches show the persistence of the biased attitude to Asian American basketball players and men because they rather show that the public and mass media do not expect physical strength, power, and excellent physical shape from the Asian American basketball player as is the case of Jeremy Lin. Moreover, the media coverage and the attitude of the public to success of Jeremy Lin shows that the public and mass media rather perceive his success as exceptional and, therefore, abnormal in a way, while the de-masculinized and inferior perception of Asian Americans as weak and asexualized men is still relevant and deep-rooted in the contemporary culture in the US (Park, 2015).

In this regard, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the perceptual image of an Asian or Asian American male has little to do with what Jeremy Lin actually is and what he is doing in his sports. To put it more precisely, Jeremy Lin became one of the most successful players, whose star raised during the first seven games, when Jeremy has managed to gain the unparalleled score. Such success emerges from his physical skills, capabilities and power, while the public still perceives Asians and Asian American men as being physically weaker or even inferior to white or African Americans. At this point, the gap between the real world and the biased, prejudiced attitude of Americans to Asians and Asian American men becomes obvious.

The success of Jeremy would be impossible without his excellent physical shape and power which are traditionally attributed to men as their distinct features and which biases and stereotypes deprive Asian and Asian American men of. Moreover, Jeremy has proved to be highly competitive in the NBA. He plays much better than many other basketball players of the non-Asian origin. This means that he plays very good and he is the new basketball star. Becoming a star in the NBA requires a lot of physical efforts and other features that are traditionally attributed to men. As Jeremy Lin has gained the tremendous success in the NBA then the public perception of Asian and Asian American men as inferior and weak implies. Such success of Jeremy Lin is important in two aspects of the perception of Asian American and Asian men. First, his success has revealed the full extent to which racism and biased attitude to Asian and Asian American men are viable in the US. Second, his success may become an important step toward the destruction of persisting myths, biases and stereotypes in regard to Asian and Asian American men. His career and performance show that he is among the best basketball players in the NBA, while the public in the media are just racially biased in relation to Asian Americans like him.

Thus, the tremendous success of Jeremy Lin in the NBA has revealed persisting biases and racial prejudices that exist in the NBA, mass media and the US culture and society. Nevertheless, his success may also open the way to eliminate those prejudices and biases. At any rate, the debate and controversies associated with the use of racially-motivated comments, media reports or coverage related to Jeremy Lin create conditions for the wide public discussion of the problem of racial biases and gender-related biases which are also very strong in the American culture in regard to Asian and Asian American men.


Chito, E. (2012). Examining the Jeremy Lin Phenomenon Through a Critical Lens, Flow Journal. Retrieved from

Kim, N. (2013). Too Smart for his own Good? The Devolution of a “Model” Asian American Student, Asian American Law Journal, 20(4), 83-108. Retrieved from

Park, M.K. (2015). Race, Hegemonic Masculinity, and the ‘‘Linpossible!’’: An Analysis of Media Representations of Jeremy Lin, Communication & Sport, 3(4), 367-389

Wachs, F. L., and Dworkin, S. L. (1997). There’s no such thing as a gay hero: Sexual identity and media framing of HIV-positive athletes. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 21, 327–347

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: February 4, 2023]

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[Accessed: February 4, 2023] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: February 4, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: February 4, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: February 4, 2023]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: February 4, 2023]
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