Chinese celebrating Knicks’ Jeremy Lin as their own; spiting Taiwan



Who knew the underdog story of a star basketball player in America would parallel political strife in the Far East? And that he would become yet another point of disagreement between a world power and a fledgling separatist state?

Jeremy Lin is the feel good story for the NBA and America at large. The underdog story of a Taiwanese-American and Harvard graduate who had no D-1 offers and went undrafted is dominating sports media right now.

Lin had 38 points versus Kobe Bryant and the New York Knicks. The legend grew. Then he hit a buzzer-beating, game winning three-pointer versus the Toronto Raptors last night. With Tuesday’s 90-87 win over Toronto, the Knicks are now 7-0 in the Lin era. In just a week and change, the Knicks have gone from coach-on-the-seat to playoff position.

His exploits have caught world media attention, and made him a huge star in Taiwan, an obscure island state (recognized as a nation by just 23 countries, considered part of China by the rest) with a population of 23 million. The Taiwanese are currently celebrating Lin as one of their own countrymen.

However the Chinese have sovereignty of Taiwan, and therefore the Chinese believe Lin is one of theirs.

From the AP:

China too is claiming Lin as a native son, pointing to his grandmother’s roots in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang as proof of his Chinese-ness.

He is being touted as the next big Chinese sports star after Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, whose retirement last year has tested the NBA’s deep-seated popularity on the mainland.

China’s pride of ownership is all too familiar to most Taiwanese, who are constantly bombarded by Beijing’s assertions that they live in a political never-never land, lacking all the elementary accouterments of statehood.

The two sides split amid civil war in 1949, and China claims the democratic island as its own, to be brought back into the fold by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.

I wonder if Jeremy Lin has any idea that nations are competing over the right to claim him. Nations that have already been at odds with each other, but still…his star power that unites Knicks and NBA fans is divisive in the Far East.

At least the people in China and Taiwan would never do anything like this.

And getting back to America, please don’t call Lin a “rags to riches story,” just because he was crashing on his brother’s couch. He went TO HARVARD! Plus he’s from Palo Alto, CA, a really sweet place. Lin is many things, Horatio Alger is not one of them.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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  1. Ace allester says

    Regardless of what you guys all write about Jeremy Lin, he is our inspiration. We watch basketball because of him. The humble and decent guy.

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