Jeremy Lin cites college race 'barrier'

Updated: April 7, 2013, 10:04 AM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

Jeremy Lin thinks he would  have been offered a Division I basketball scholarship -- if he wasn't Asian-American.

Lin, now the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets, led Palo Alto (Calif.) High School to a 32-1 record and a state championship in 2005-06, averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals per game.

Lin
Lin

But despite being named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year, local schools like Stanford and UCLA passed on the 6-foot-3 Lin.

"Well, I think the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian-American, which, you know, is a whole different issue but ... I think that was a barrier," Lin told Charlie Rose in a "60 Minutes" interview that will air Sunday night.

"I mean ... it's a stereotype."

Lin ended up at Harvard University, where he was twice named to the All-Ivy League first team. He went undrafted out of college, but impressed in the NBA Summer League and signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2010.

Did race play a factor in why Lin wasn't drafted, too?

"I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes," NBA commissioner David Stern told Rose, according to CBSNews.com.

"In terms of looking at somebody ... I don't know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard," Stern said with a laugh, according to CBSNews.com. "Or because he was Asian."

Lin bounced around from there before making his mark seemingly out of nowhere with the New York Knicks last season, spawning the "Linsanity" craze. In 35 games with the Knicks, Lin averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds.

Lin signed a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with the Rockets in the offseason, which the Knicks chose not to match. In his first full season as a starter, Lin, 24, is averaging 13.1 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 76 games for Houston.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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