Contemplating the missing Lins
By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis' story of
The villains in
And the fact is that nobody -- nobody in basketball -- had the perception or the guts to say: you know, I don't care what anybody else thinks, this kid Jeremy Lin has it. It -- whatever that is. It's not, either, like he was tucked away in Bulgaria. Lin was hidden in plain sight. He led his high school at Palo Alto to the California championship. No, Harvard is not Kentucky or North Carolina, but he was on display for four years in Division I. Come on.
But none of the geniuses -- not one scout, one coach, one general manager -- could see what everyone sees now when it's fashionable. None of the people paid to envision, could envision. Obviously, some of it was simply that Lin wasn't the right heritage. No, I'm not saying basketball people are prejudiced against Asian-Americans. It's simply the usual common stupidity of stereotyping. It wasn't just a matter of race. Scouts tend to be uncomfortable with anything different.
Now it's wonderful for Lin that he finally got his chance. It's wonderful for fans that we got a lovely surprise. It's wonderful for Asian-Americans that they've got a new athletic hero. It's even wonderful for the Knicks, who don't deserve it, because their owner is the biggest creep in professional sports. But what is so disappointing is that Lin finally was given his opportunity only because about a half-dozen weird inside-basketball happenstances happened to occur. Talk about divine intervention.
But, in counterpoint, what is so dispiriting is to contemplate not only how many basketball players, but how many other athletes, how many artists and actors and musicians and writers, how many special creative talents never get fulfilled because the experts, so-called, are always looking in the same places. Jeremy Lin is a success, and hooray for him, but his example tells us that there are, surely, so many more brilliant might-have-beens in our midst who never get a chance. And that's the sad part to such a happy ending.