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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Admire Jeremy Lin for his skills, not the way he looks

By Yu Jincui (Global Times)

13:34, February 20, 2012

New NBA sensation Jeremy Lin has drawn much attention in the past few days.

By powering the New York Knicks to a stunning run of wins this month, he has been chased feverishly by US media, Chinese fans and commercial brands. "Linsanity" has spread like wildfire overnight, but this has been accompanied by a war of words around Lin's identity between Taiwan and the mainland.

There are obvious Chinese elements in Lin's identity. As his parents are Taiwanese immigrants, Lin has been claimed as the "glory of Taiwan." However, given his ancestral home is Pinghu, Zhejiang Province, fans on the mainland highlight his mainland identity. Some media intentionally emphasized that when Lin's father accepted interviews, he stated that they were Taiwanese. Looking through Sina Weibo, there have already been extreme remarks against this "Taiwanese" identity declaration.

The emergence of Lin fills the emotional vacuum of Chinese basketball fans after the retirement of Yao Ming last year. It is reasonable for Chinese fans to admire Lin due to the Chinese elements in his identity. But imposing China's NBA dream on him and even calling on Lin to give up his US citizenship to play for China in the coming Olympics, as some in the media have suggested, goes too far.

When Gary Locke was appointed as the US ambassador to China, some Chinese were cheering for his ethnic background but Locke remained clearly loyal to US values. Therefore, there is no need to overly interpret Jeremy Lin's identity.

The Chinese public is indeed yearning for more stars like Yao Ming. A developing China calls for more talents in every field. But splitting hair over Lin's ethnicity is not helping.

No doubt the Chinese sports system has problems in creating more superstars, however, the Lin fever in the mainland also partly results from a cultural inferiority complex. Stars who are internationally recognized are more likely to be worshipped at home.

Zhu Zhiwen, a farmer singer from Shandong Province who surprised the whole country in the 2012 Spring Festival Gala by his fabulous rendition of folk songs, is less admired in China than Susan Boyle.

China needs to become more confident. Jeremy Lin is an excellent NBA player, he deserves the following of Chinese fans due to his superb skills, but not necessarily because of his Chinese roots.


Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-02-26198.108.104.*
Jeremy Lin is a positive role model.Smart and plays basketball well. There is even a positive song called "Jeremy Lin Meets Faith" by Linsanity (ryanesq) that is free to hear on itunes or
CK at 2012-02-21124.82.102.*
Yes we can be happy for Jeremy, but should admire his skill and not because he is one of us. Racial perpensit is natural, but controllable for world as one. As jeremy said himself, he can perform because it all team works, credit goes to everone involved.
PD User at 2012-02-2160.51.51.*
Why was it the the Chinese table tennis superstar Chuang Zedong was so admired the world over during the 60s? So admired that the British coach Victor Barna named him and the entire Chinese team as players who could be found only once in a century (he was trying to encourage other nation"s players not to give up table tennis). So admired that eventually the CIA-types even tried to find fault with his genius. Athletes in the West could be played up by the Western media, and thereby become internationally known, or cut down, in which case they would be sidelined. The reason why the world knows Bobby Fischer better than the scores of great Soviet grandmasters was due largely to the Western media. That does not mean Fischer was a bad player - he was a damn good one - but that international popularity depends on Western media hegemony.
Jerremy Lin grand mother at 2012-02-2166.74.167.*
Grand mother interview
thomas at 2012-02-20202.89.190.*
its not that you cannot find superstar your support for your stars is only in your local province you have a star promotes him or her nationally give him or her the support on radios on tv or you never get a national figure you should start a pact with all the chinese speaking countries to support each other

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