The Jeremy Lin craze has extended far beyond the walls of the historic Madison Square Garden in the past month. On Tuesday, the New York Knicks guard was the topic of discussion among members of the Asian American Alliance at Ithaca College.
Held in Williams Hall, the meeting offered students and members of the local community an opportunity to discuss Lin’s success on the court, his Asian American heritage and how the media have covered his rise.
Lin first rose to prominence in a Feb. 4 win over the New Jersey Nets, when the guard scored 25 points and dished out seven assists in 36 minutes and was trending worldwide on Twitter. Entering Wednesday’s competition, the guard has since started nine games, averaging 24.5 points and 9.4 assists per contest. The Knicks have won seven of those games.
Lin’s rapid rise to fame has made the Harvard University graduate the subject of media puns, most notably “Linsanity,” which he has since filed an application to trademark.
Junior Elijah Davis, co-president of the Asian American Alliance, used the forum to discuss Lin’s success in college and how it adds to his popularity.
“At Harvard, he studied economics and graduated with a 3.1 GPA,” Davis said. “He’s a very educated person, so it’s not just that he’s good at basketball, he’s good all around.”
While much of Lin’s popularity has come from his athleticism, some have said his popularity is due to his ethnicity. Boxer Floyd Mayweather wrote on his Twitter account last week that Lin’s popularity is unfair to African-American players.
“Jeremy Lin is a good player, but all the hype is because he’s Asian,” Mayweather said. “Black players do what he does every night and don’t get that kind of praise.”
Mayweather’s remark was a major point of discussion at the meeting. Junior Kenneth Li said he believes there was criticism toward Mayweather because the remark was seen as an attack on Lin.
“[Mayweather] got a lot of backlash for that because it was unfair to Jeremy Lin,” Li said. “He got all of that recognition because of his skill.”
Another theme discussed was racism in the media’s coverage of Lin. Early Saturday morning, ESPN ran an article on its mobile website with the headline “Chink in the Armor,” a racial slur that caused immediate backlash.
While the discussion on Lin has focused mainly on negative portrayals of his ethnicity, some people have chosen to focus on Lin’s positive traits. Mimi Melegrito, an Ithaca resident, encouraged fans to focus on the positive side of Lin’s emergence.
“When we want to look at the story of a man like [Lin], we have an opportunity to pick out some elements of his life, like the humility and the survival skills,” Melegrito said. “I love his story because that’s the kind of thing that I can share.”
The Asian American Alliance meets every week at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and all members of the campus community are encouraged to attend.