The journey of Jeremy Lin, the first Chinese-American to win an NBA championship, from his birthplace in California to playing for the Beijing Shougang Ducks next season, is a timely metaphor on U.S.-China relations — past, present and future.
I wrote a sub-chapter titled Linsanity in my 2014 book Custom Maid Revolution for New World Disorder. At the time I wrote: “At a time when U.S.-China relations remain prickly, Lin and basketball are a binding and bonding common denominator proudly proclaimed and embraced by both.”
Jeremy’s parents were born in Taiwan and came to the States as students; his great grandparents migrated to Taiwan from Fujian, China in 1707. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker.
Jeremy was on the Palo Alto High School team that went to the state championships. No scholarships were offered, so he went to Harvard. He was picked up and discarded by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. He landed at the end of the bench with the Knicks. His big break came in February 2012 and suddenly he became a play-making sensation, thrust into fame and fortune — Linsanity!
Incredibly, the Knicks let the wildly popular Lin go in free-agency, and he went on to play for the Houston Rockets and last year NBA World Champion Toronto Raptors. He only played a total of 51 seconds during Toronto’s six-game Finals victory over his former team the Golden State Warriors.
Former Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, who played basketball at Harvard, has developed a relationship with Lin and worked out with him on the court. “Everyone who thinks this is an overnight success fundamentally gets this wrong,” Duncan said in an interview with USA Today. “Jeremy has been very good for a long time and just never quite had the opportunity.”
Racism? Are Yellow Peril fears and the ongoing repeated China bashing, as the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns heat up on parallel hot cooker-tracks with the U.S.-China trade tension and dispute, contributing factors to Lin’s move to Beijing?
He broke down in tears during an emotional appearance in Taiwan last month when he described feeling abandoned by the NBA.
“Every year it gets harder,” Lin said at the time. “In English there’s a saying that once you hit bottom, the only way to go is up — but rock bottom just seems to getting more and more rock bottom for me.”
Lin, like Chinese students, academics and engineers are going back to China because of “espionage” and “loyalty” concerns.
China is clearly the winner in this brain-drain one-on-one game!