Lin says race cost him D-1 scholarship
by Sean Highkin, USA TODAY Sports
Linsanity was one of the most unlikely and awe-inspiring success stories in NBA history, not only because of the rarity of Asian Americans in the NBA, but also because his success seemingly came out of nowhere. Everyone knows the story of the four-year player at Harvard, not exactly a hotbed of college basketball success, who went undrafted and rode the bench for a year with the Golden State Warriors before being turned to by the New York Knicks as an absolute last resort, and completely turned their season around while becoming a worldwide sensation in the process. But Lin, now with the Houston Rockets, tells 60 Minutes‘ Charlie Rose in an upcoming interview that he believes his ethnicity is largely responsible for that pre-Linsanity obscurity.
“I think the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian American,” Lin told Rose when asked why he was never offered a Division I basketball scholarship. “I think that was a barrier.”
Lin excelled as a high-school basketball player in northern California, but was ultimately passed over for scholarship offers from nearby schools like UCLA and Stanford.
NBA commissioner David Stern thinks Lin’s race may have also been a factor in why he had to fight his way onto an NBA roster through Summer League. I don’t know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard or because he was Asian,” Stern told CBS.
It’s impossible to know just how much of Lin’s difficult path to NBA stardom was caused by his ethnicity, but it would be naive to assume it had nothing to do with it. On the other hand, though, had Lin played at a more high-profile school and been drafted in the mid-to-late first round in 2010, he would not have been able to sign the three-year, $25 million deal he received from the Rockets after his second season as a pro. It goes without saying at this point that he has the talent to be a starting point guard on an NBA team, and that would have come to the surface one way or another. His path was a … [For more on Jeremy Lin says race cost him a D-1 college scholarship, click here.]