Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Lin's Asian-American fans have arrived
By Diamond Leung
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Gie-Ming and Shirley Lin sat in the front row behind the Harvard bench, and to support their son, they proudly wore T-shirts that on the back read, "Welcome to the Jeremy Lin Show."
The print on the front of the shirts screamed a more powerful message:
In the corner of the sold-out arena, 16-year-old Austin Ng was starting to do just that while leaning over the concourse-level railing alongside his parents. He was getting a glimpse of a stereotype being shattered.
An Asian-American basketball star?
The family had snapped up discounted tickets for $8.88 apiece and made the hour-long drive from San Francisco -- not to see Santa Clara in nonconference action, but to be mesmerized by Lin's every movement.
"It gives me inspiration," said Ng, who recently got cut by his high school team, but continues to play basketball for an Asian-American club team called the Dragons. "If he can do it, why not me?"
Playing about 15 miles from his hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., Lin's presence resulted in a capacity crowd at the 4,700-seat Leavey Center that included only a handful of his family members and droves of Asian-Americans wanting to witness his homecoming. The 6-foot-3 senior, averaging 17.4 ppg for the 11-3 Crimson, said he didn't pay attention to it until his teammates told him, "it was like Hong Kong."
Jeremy Lin fanatic Brian Yang, wearing a Bruce Lee shirt, beamed at the sight. The 36-year-old helps run an Asian-American basketball league and also assisted in coordinating the effort by the Dream League to pack the stands with Asian-Americans.
The Dream League, a Bay Area community service organization dedicated to the advancement of Asian-American basketball players, purchased about 500 tickets from Santa Clara and offered to resell them at lower prices in order to encourage members of the community to watch Lin play. Why charge $8.88 for general admission tickets? The No. 8 in Chinese culture is a lucky one.
To see the rest of the story on Lin's Bay Area homecoming, click here.