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The economic fallout of 'Linsanity'

Jeremy Lin is not only changing mainstream America's view of Asians. The New York Knicks star could broaden the aspirations of Asian-Americans themselves. 


New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin (17) passes off against the Toronto Raptors during an NBA basketball game in Toronto last month. The Asian-American's success on the court (before a knee injury took him out for the rest of the regular season) could help broaden the career options for many young Asian-Americans.

Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press/AP/File

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It says something about the improbable season of Jeremy Lin that in two months he has gone from bench warmer to injured NBA star whose injury and six-week absence might keep the New York Knicks from making the playoffs.

Then again, everything about Lin has been improbable since he stepped onto a basketball court Feb. 4 and led the woeful and depleted Knicks to the first game of a seven-game winning streak. An Asian-American Harvard graduate – with a degree in economics to boot – was suddenly outscoring NBA stars. Commentators quickly dubbed it "Linsanity" – noting how odd it seemed that an Asian-American was the hottest thing in pro sports.

As an Asian-American, I have another word for his rocket-fueled season: inspirational. The bucking of the Asian-American stereotype is likely to have a positive effect, not only on the attitudes of non-Asians toward Asians but also on the aspirations of Asian-Americans themselves.


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