60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Racism, Linsanity & Christian Faith

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60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin

Third-string guard Jeremy Lin shot from the bench to superstar status and became a household name in the process. Charlie Rose reported on his rise to fame for 60 Minutes. The Harvard student overcame stereotyping and reinvigorated a city’s basketball franchise.

60 Minutes: Linsanity

Madison Square Garden came alive with Jeremy Lin on the court for the New York Knicks. He made basketball history, scoring 45 points, seven assists, and a victory for the team.

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60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Racism, Linsanity & Christian Faith

For 60 Minutes, Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin reflected on his Christian faith, institutional racism in basketball, and international basketball fame. (Phil Stafford / Shutterstock.com)

His hot streak continued in future games. “That stretch, that was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” Lin said.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Vs Kobe Bryant

New Yorkers lapped up Linsanity, where he became a fan favorite almost overnight. The NBA capitalized on the publicity, taking advantage of the opportunity to sell Lin merchandise that they could not seem to keep in stock.

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The #17 jersey became a hot commodity for sports fans, and it seemed that everyone knew the name Jeremy Lin, except Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers. He soon found out firsthand, when Lin scored 38 points against Bryant.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Houston Rockets

Lin seems to be humble and truly enjoying his success. “I literally felt like I was hovering because of how crazy the place was,” he recalled.

He scored 136 points in his first five starts, setting a league record. But things changed quickly, when an injury took him off the court and a $325 million contract took him out of town, to the Houston Rockets.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin New York Knicks

The Knicks declined to re-sign Lin after his hot streak, and he said he thinks they were not willing to match the offer from Houston. But the star feels like everything worked out as it should have.

The Asian American traveled to China after Linsanity exploded. He had no idea what would be waiting for him overseas. He expected to encounter fans at events, “but it was probably like five times crazier than I thought it was going to be.”

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Taiwan & China

His appearances in Taiwan and China were a whole new wave of Linsanity, and Charlie Rose called him a role model. Lin has broken an Asian American barrier in the NBA and has made inroads in expanding the league internationally.

Commissioner Stern said he is excited about the international future of the sport, as young people are getting fired up on basketball courts worldwide.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Christianity

Lin was also an advocate for Christianity during his visit to Taiwan, which was telecast live to hundreds of other churches. He said that he grew up in the church, and feels called to share his faith with others.

He said it makes him feel equipped to deal with temptations and the challenges he encounters in life. Shirley and Gie-Ming, his engineer parents, moved to the US from Taiwan in the ‘70s, putting an emphasis on education for their three sons.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Childhood

Lin said that it was rare for Asian American parents to support their children’s interest in sports, but his parents were the exception. They just wanted to ensure that he was not neglecting his studies.

It seems like it all worked out, landing the promising youngster in the spotlight for his high school basketball team. He was honored as California Player of the Year, and his speed on the court was an asset.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Recruitment

Surprisingly, Lin did not get any Division I scholarship interest. He said that his race was likely a factor that precluded his recruitment. “I think that was a barrier,” Lin said.

The stereotype is something he has been used to growing up as a basketball player. He was often the target of racial slurs on the court from opponents.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Racism

He thinks if he were Caucasian or African American, he would have had more opportunities. Instead, he chose Harvard, which got him a great education in addition to a spot on their basketball team.

His parents were proud of him, and it must be hard not to be. However, even in college, Lin was still the target of racist nicknames and taunts at the games.

60 Minutes: Jeremy Lin Harvard

Lin said he has had to learn to let the taunts roll off him over time. “Now it doesn’t really bother me anymore.”

Despite his hot record at Harvard, Lin was not drafted by any NBA teams. Commissioner Stern admitted that there was probably some bias in terms of recruitment, possibly because of his race or the fact that he went to Harvard.

Lin is now at home in Houston, playing for the Rockets and becoming the face of the team, endorsing sneakers and Volvo. He was also the subject of a documentary, and he is still a fan favorite.

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