Jeremy Lin Says the Asian Stereotype Probably Cost Him a Division I Scholarship on '60 Minutes' Sunday

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April 5th, 2013


via press release:



NBA Commissioner David Stern Says Race May Also Have Been at Play
When No Pro Team Drafted Lin in 2011

NBA standout Jeremy Lin’s failure to get a major college basketball scholarship or a roster spot through the NBA draft probably had to do with his Asian ethnicity, Lin and NBA Commissioner David Stern say. The opinions come to light in a profile of the Houston Rockets player, whose spectacular performances off the bench for the New York Knicks last spring spurred the catchword “Linsanity.” Charlie Rose reports Lin’s story on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, April 7 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Lin was chosen California’s player of the year when he led his Palo Alto High School team to a state championship. Asked by Rose why he didn’t get a scholarship to nearby UCLA or Stanford, Lin replies, “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.” Watch an excerpt.

Acknowledging that his ethnicity had nothing to do with his athletic ability, Lin says it was more of a perception of Asian Americans. “I mean… it’s just a stereotype,” he tells Rose. He believes that if he were a black or white player, he would have gotten a scholarship to his dream school, Stanford.

Lin, a brilliant student, went to Harvard instead, where no athletic scholarships are granted, and was a standout in that Division I program. But the six-foot-four-inch guard wasn’t drafted by any of the NBA’s 32 teams in 2011. Was race involved there, too?

“I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes,” says the NBA’s Stern. “In terms of looking at somebody… I don’t know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard,” he says with a laugh, “Or because he was Asian.” The bottom line, says Stern, he didn’t have the usual background common to a vast majority of professional players.

Lin was forced to enter the NBA the hard way, through a summer league. That experience led him to a few short stints on pro teams and the NBA’s minor league, until the New York Knicks signed him for its bench.

What happened next led to a familiar word in New York City and then the world: “Linsanity.” Lin substituted for injured stars and played so well, he became a sports phenomenon in the media capital of the world.

Rose also speaks to Lin’s parents in this 60 MINUTES profile.

  • martha

    Go Jeremy! Go Linsanity! :D


    Complaining about having to go to Harvard?

    Also, if he didn’t make it to the NBA (which statistically happens more than players making it to the NBA), then I’m pretty sure having gone to Harvard would help him find a job. I understand his desire to be showcased at a school like UCLA, but what were his chances of starting and seeing lots of playing time? There is way more athletic competition at UCLA.

    And, if he blows his knee out and never plays again, then he can always fall back on his Harvard education…

  • Jj

    If he went to Stanford, he can fall on the education too.
    Im pretty sure his brain will help him stand out in PG position too.

    Still, good to see Linsanity, can’t wait to watch 60 min, as I know of its shooting since last summer!

  • Centre01

    The few Ivy League college basketball players made it to the NBA, also would become sucessful after NBA.
    Maybe a US Senator ???

  • gl

    Wow! The comment about complaining having to go to Harvard. Talk about clueless regarding the article. It’s not about him complaining. The larger issue isn’t about him at all. It’s about the fact that the California High School Player of the year didn’t get one scholarship offer even from the college in his hometown, Stanford. Can’t be the academics. As the clueless commenter indicated, he went to Harvard. Leading his team to the State Championship and being State player of the year, shouldn’t be his lack of athleticism. Hmmm, I wonder why? So do you think if, with the same academic and athletic credentials, if he was White or Black, would he have gotten at least one scholarship? That’s what you should be wondering about.

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