Jeremy Lin has become a sensation in the NBA, but Floyd Mayweather Jr believes it's only because he's Asian. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr, for some reason or another, decided to speak his mind on Twitter about why Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is receiving so much hype. Guess what? He's going to be accused of racism. Again.
White players do what Lin does every night, too. So what? Is the world really, truly lacking in praise for black basketball players? Is there anything at all to the idea that Jeremy Lin is being hyped because he's Asian?
I don't think the argument holds much water. Yes, if we're being 100% honest, then part of it is the "novelty" that Lin is an Asian basketball player. There aren't many in NBA history, and most of the Asian players who have made it to the NBA made it on height. Jeremy Lin is a 6'3" point guard from Harvard, an economics major who wasn't drafted.
Most of the hype that Lin is receiving is the result of something like this not happening very often -- yes, it's true, we don't often see a Chinese point guard from Harvard dominating in the NBA. We also don't often see undrafted point guards from Harvard dominating in the NBA. And we pretty much never, ever see someone come from out of nowhere to the degree that Lin has -- not in any sport, frankly, and definitely not in the NBA. This is some Kurt Warner-type stuff.
Floyd is free to speak his mind and all that. He's also totally open to being called on what he says. First of all, he probably shouldn't have said this since I don't think it serves any purpose whatsoever and only makes Floyd seem petty and strange (which is not unusual).
Second, and more important, the argument just isn't a very good one. Lin is a sensation -- perhaps a short-term phenom, but if he were black or white or Inuit, he'd be causing the same ruckus, because he'd be an unknown point guard popping up out of nowhere to play great basketball and lead the New York Knicks to five straight wins while they're missing their two star players. (And yes, the fact that Lin is doing it as a New York Knick is also a big story -- if he were on the Milwaukee Bucks this wouldn't be half as big with the media.)