But this does not preclude the possibility of Jeremy Lin or non-blacks becoming solid defenders in the NBA. Defense in basketball is not so dependent on defensive quickness as it is on other factors such as anticipation, tenacity, and learning how to play good team defense so there is much room for improvement.
On Asian-American Christianity: An overlooked aspect of the Jeremy Lin story is its connection with the burgeoning phenomenon of Asian-American Christians. Their presence is extremely visible on elite college campuses such as Harvard. At some universities I am inclined to conclude that more than 30% of Asian students are active participants in the Church. In fact, as many academics and students have noted, some formerly non-ethnic Christian organizations on campuses have of late been co-opted by Asians leading to some rather confused white Christians who arrive at their first meeting probably expecting a majority white group but instead finding themselves discussing the merits and demerits of the various outlets for bubble milk tea. Some of the white Christians inevitably adjust to the Asian atmosphere and convince themselves that "Christians are Christians" and that race doesn't matter while others will leave for whiter pastures all while contradictions rage in their minds. (This Christian organization is not for me. I do not like the vibe. It doesn't have anything to do with race, I swear! I mean, that's what's really driving me away from this group, but that would make me a racist, which is the worst thing in the world. I better ask God for advice. >_<)
Asian-American Christianity, while largely conservative in theology, is worlds apart from white evangelical Christianity. The difference can be seen in the conversation comparing Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow. Asian-American Christianity is, for the most part, apolitical, with no obstinate stances on controversial issues such as gay marriage and abortion.
What can I say about Asian-American Christianity? While I used to harbor a great deal of animosity towards Asian "believers" (Bigwowo has a neat post that concisely summarizes my former feelings), I have since come to a more mature understanding and acceptance of religion.
Consider this paradox. Religion is universally false, but it is a universal truth that religion is necessary in human society. That's what I've come to understand over the years and why I think it is unnecessary to lambaste believers Hitchens-style. Another revelation I've had comes from reading Moldbug and forming a broader definition of what exactly constitutes religion. The Atheism vs. Theism debate turns out to be rather limited in scope when taking on a broader definition of religion, which of course, includes the very popular but ill-conceived and irrational notions of equality and democracy.
So Jeremy Lin is a Christian. Good for him. He takes his faith seriously and I respect that.
A Chink in the Armor. The hypersensitivity of the Asian community and of the bosses at ESPN is in my opinion, regrettable. I'm compelled to believe that it was all a big misunderstanding and not intentional, and even if it was intentional, there was no really no need to go bat-shit insane over the whole deal. Can not adults act in a civil manner when dealing with issues of race? Must every slight related to race be accompanied by shrieks and wails? The best way to deal with the situation is to assume a position of neutrality, point out the offensive message and explain it, then move on.
On Reality. Jeremy Lin's story is so inspirational as a human story because there are many of us out there who believe ourselves in the same situation, we could be great if only the stars aligned for us, if only we were given that opportunity. But the sinking truth is that most of us are ordinary. While aspirations and dreams are a distinguishing and unique spiritual component of the human psyche, the majority of us have to deal with everyday reality. We may not turn out to be great or famous, but I think what most of us can aspire to be are simply productive members of society, something that the black community has curiously neglected in favor of pursuits of glory.
On Nationality and Ethnicity. Is Jeremy Lin Taiwanese? Chinese? American? Asian? A combination of both? Every publication has its own definition of what exactly he is. Different terms are employed on a consistent basis. Is he going to join the "Chinese-Taipei" NT or will he opt for the glory of China? Both "countries" have offered him a spot on their team, though technically one cannot be both a citizen of the People's Republic of China and the US, but I'm sure they will find a way to work around that if it comes to it. Taiwan does not field a competitive basketball team while China does, so playing for Taiwan really doesn't do much, and Lin is not so good as to elevate that team to higher levels. Playing for China would cause international political chaos and redefine the boundaries between ethnicity and nationality. Questions would be raised about Asian-American loyalty to America, among other things. Will tribalism reign or is American truly a melting pot/salad bowl? It would allow Lin to play on a even larger stage, but would it be something that he really wants? In all honesty, Jeremy Lin's Chinese is marginal at best. In a interview done a while back, a Chinese reporter questions Lin in Chinese and receives a response in English, an unfortunate reality that confronts many Asian-Americans. But if Chris Kaman can play for Germany, what the hell do I know?
My bet is that Lin will elect to play for neither of the two "China's". Playing for China is a huge political and publicity risk while playing for Taiwan yields little in the way of benefits. Lin will be proud of being an American, above all things and realize that his dream was only made possible by the land of opportunity that is America. Perhaps in 4 years he'll be good enough to make the American team.