Bob Fitzgerald joked in the post-game interview with Jeremy Lin on “Asian Heritage Night” (AHN) that he might be the first player ever to get a standing ovation on a jump ball. Everyone left in the crowd to witness the event laughed. But I think there was some satire thrown in with the sarcasm.
A friend and I have joked that the Lin fever is of Justin Bieber proportions and we had made similar jokes prior to AHN that Lin, after being inactive during the first game, was going to be given standing ovation for rocking a stylish suits on the sidelines. Either that, or fans might give him standing ovations as Lin gives his teammates standing ovations on the sidelines after great plays.
“You are KILLING that suit Jeremy!”
“Jeremy! Way to clap it up for your teammates!”
And weirdly, rather than take it with stride, Lin seems to be shirking from the limelight from local that love him, looking more like the stereotype of an Ivy League Basketball Player than a former “Player of the Year” of California (as voted by several publications).
But if Lin can’t shake his nerves, is it time that we just let Jeremy Lin be Jeremy Lin? Even his coach and teammates can see that he’s about as popular as their star-apparents, Stephen Curry, reports Rusty Simmons:
“When the crowd is not there with him, he is a little more relaxed,” Smart said.
“He was kind of unfazed on the court, and there is no doubt that he plays hard and tries to make the right plays,” Curry said. "There’s a lot of pressure on him at home, with all of the applause for just checking into the game, so I’m sure that cranks his nerves up a little bit.
“You can tell on the road he plays a lot better, because he can just go out there, play and have fun.”
Lin captures fans dreams and desires. He’s become an icon, a shooting star (that’s not shooting well) that many Asian Americans want to tether their hopes for national respect as not a stereotype but as part of the nation.
But his fan base isn’t strictly Asian. A glimpse at the standing ovation at the Oracle on Asian Heritage Night shows a diverse, racially, set of fans all cheering for their hometown hero.
What we all need to recognize is this that these different representations of Jeremy Lin as “Asian American hero” or “hometown hero” are projections of our own individual or collective desires for ourselves. Lin, clearly, happy to be in the NBA with his hometown team, realizes though that the pressures are mounting even as the minutes might be dwindling. And for that, maybe we should take Simmons advice and “stop cheering for Jeremy Lin.”