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Jeremy Lin On Asian American Stereotypes: "I Would Have Gotten Scholarship If I Was White Or Black"

By Staff Reporter - Posted: 04/06/13 08:40AM EDT
Lin and Melo

Lin and Melo (Photo: reuters)

In February of 2012, when "Linsanity" took over the sporting world, many wondered how Jeremy Lin was able to come out of seemingly nowhere. 

Well, he didn't. Lin was a star high school player at Palo Alto High School, winning California's Player of the Year award and leading his team to the state championship. Yet the Taiwanese-American point guard didn't get a single athletic scholarship offer from any school in the nation, which Lin attributes to his skin color.

In an interview with the CBS show 60 Minutes, Lin, responding to host Charlie Rose's question about his lack of scholarship, said: "Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian American which, you know, is a whole different issue but...I think that was a barrier."

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Lin believes his ethnicity has abosolutely nothing to do with this athletic ability, that all the notions about Asian American athletes are misconceptions. "I's just a stereotype," Lin tells Rose, adding that, if he were a black or white player, he would have gotten a scholarship to his dream school, Stanford.

NBA commissioner David Stern didn't exactly disagree either. In a separate interview, which will also air with the show, Stern responded: "I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes. In terms of looking at somebody...I don't know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard or because he was Asian." 

The stereotype that Asians are not athletic has been around for generations, and one that the current generation of Asian American youths try to battle daily. While the best basketball players in the country are indeed mostly black, it's foolish to write off a player just because he's Chinese or any other race that's not usually associated with professional sports.

And now, Lin is proving all those scouts and execs wrong -- he's a starter on a playoff bound team. 

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