Jeremy Lin, Faith, and Ethnicity
An Interview with Jeremy Lin
Jeremy Lin is widely recognized as one of best point guards in the NCAA, and a top prospect for the NBA. Having attended Asian-American churches and fellowships for much of his life, in this second part of the interview (read part one here) Lin reflects on the overwhelming support he's received from the Asian-American community, the importance of his heritage, and how he needs to play, nonetheless, for God.
Lin was interviewed in his dorm room at Harvard University by Timothy Dalrymple.
Video Question: Articles about you tend to focus on the story of your father and his passion for basketball. How has your father shaped the way you approach the game in faith?
For most of your life, you have belonged to Asian-American churches and fellowships. Do you draw some of your strength and inspiration from them?
I definitely feel their support and their prayer, and I am very, very grateful for it. It’s overwhelming at times. I’m blown away by it, and I’m still happy that people support me like that. But I’ve struggled with whether it should give me extra motivation to play. From my experience, I’ve realized that I can’t play for anybody else, because I don’t think that’s how the game should be played.
Last year, when the media attention was starting to grow around me, I felt as though I had to play well just to please everyone else. It was a great burden, and it took the joy out of the game for me. See, the truth is that I can't even play for myself. The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I still don't fully understand what that means; I struggle with these things every game, every day. I'm still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give the game up to Him. It's a challenge, but thankfully I'm learning more and more.
Still, much of the media attention focuses on the fact that you are not just a basketball player, but an Asian-American basketball player. Is that a large part of the way you think about yourself, as well?
It definitely is a major part of my identity. But I don't see it as my whole identity. I belong to other groups as well. My basketball friends are largely non-Asian. I don't like to only associate myself with one group exclusively. But I do feel like the Asian-American community is a big part of my identity, and has been since my childhood.
Do you feel that you bear the pressure of tens of thousands of young Asian-American males, who are hoping that you will help to shatter the stereotype?
Dr. Timothy Dalrymple is the Associate Director of Content at Patheos, and writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos' Evangelical Portal. Follow him at his blog, Philosophical Fragments, on Facebook or on Twitter.