Ball don’t lie

This week of Linsanity thanks to one Jeremy Lin, currently of the NY Knicks, has infused my already joyful (in the ordinary) life with an added dimension of merriment.  Sure, basketball is strictly a spectator sport for me ever since my brother made fun of my ugly form.  Feeling this amount of gaiety while simply spectating is hard to explain.  Perhaps I will try to at a later time but right now, I’d like to introduce my first guest blogger.  Hint:  Physically, he has been likened to a young Ron Darling and Korean Fred Savage.

Without further adieu, here are my husband’s thoughts surrounding Linsanity:

Around 10 years ago when I was spry and still had a modicum of athleticism, I went out with one of  my friends to find some pickup basketball games in the streets of NYC.  Young black teenagers taunted us with, “Get off the courts, chino.”  Eventually we got onto a court and played some two-on-two.  For the next couple of hours, my friend and I just dominated and never got off the court.  Those same teenagers calling us “chino” were now defending their loss by saying, “Yo, they games is NICE.”  Some of these kids just couldn’t believe they were losing and kept coming back for more, only to have their asses handed to them time and time again.  They left the court shaking their heads and with a minor in East Asian studies.

If I just wanted to write that I am a great basketball player, this would be a dumb post…and a bald-faced lie.  Because I am not.  I am OK and I was definitely better 10 years ago.  But the funny thing is when I said that we were beating teenagers, I mean freshly minted teenagers as in their voices had deepened just that very day – they couldn’t have been more than 13!  So here were these kids playing grown men, thinking they would surely school us.  In three or four years I bet these kids might have been able to beat us, but at that age it’s not a fair physical match up.  It’s really not about just skill, but also about being stronger, faster, and smarter.  There was no way these kids were going to beat us and no way they should have expected to.  But they did expect to win, and were utterly shocked that they were losing.  There is obviously only one reason they thought they were going to win – we were Asian and they were black. 

Obviously, this is not meant to be a shot against black youth.  It’s just a fact that most people don’t view Asian males as paradigms of athleticism unless you’re talking about speedskating.  Hell, I not only agree with that sentiment, I fully embody it – and I can’t even skate worth sh*t.  But there certainly is a lesson to be learned and it is the same one that Jeremy Lin is teaching all of us right now.

The title of this piece comes from the sage mouth of one Rasheed Wallace.  In basketball, it doesn’t matter what you look like or what you say or what the referees call.  In the end, all will be settled on the court and if you can make shots, you can make shots.  Ball. Don’t. Lie.  When it goes through the hoop, it just do.

Jeremy Lin has shown us in this past monumental week that ball don’t lie.  You can look at whatever statistics you want about his points or his PER or what his usage rate and offensive efficiency are.  In the end, if you know basketball, you know what a basketball player looks like.  And he certainly looks like one. And if he is going to continue to be successful and not just a guy having a crazy week, once again, the ball ain’t gon’ lie!  A great story is emerging with an ending yet to be determined.  All the hosannas being thrown at him today will, sadly, be gone tomorrow if he starts sucking or God forbid, gets hurt.  And if he continues to star, then we will have one of the greatest and most inspiring underdog sports stories of this young century.

All of this will be decided by one thing and one thing only – the ball.  And that’s the lesson we all forget sometimes.  We get so scared by appearances and tradition and stereotypes that most of the time we never bother to lace up our sneakers because we believe that there’s no reason to even try.  That’s why the underdog story is so inspiring – the person who so desperately wants something that they chase it headlong without listening to those voices telling them, and often reasonably so, “NO”, is the one we all wish we could be.  Despite all the doubters and the obstacles he has faced (which I won’t bother to list as they have been more than well-chronicled as of late), Mr. Lin kept lacing up his sneakers and allowing the ball to tell him about his basketball career.  Since the ball told me LONG ago that the NBA will never be calling me unless they want to interview a Celtics fan for a small feature story, I only hope I can follow Mr. Lin’s lead in my personal or professional life – to try even in an area I am not forecasted to thrive in.

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