The reality of Sports as it is in Business, women and minorities will find it difficult, but not impossible, to break through the "glass ceiling" in their careers. For many of us as Free Agents and Entrepreneurs, we have the same dilemma as we did not want a glass ceiling on our freedom or our income working in Corporate America. Jeremy Lin being one of the first Asian-Americans in the NBA, I was impressed as many people are with the "Firsts". Another great example of a first many are proud about, Barack Obama as our first African-American President. It gives us ordinary people something to strive for to be extraordinary. But as pioneers, there were many obstacles to overcome to become the first Asian-American NBA player or first African-American President.
You have to give credit to Jeremy Lin as he had other choices graduating from Harvard. But he decided to follow his passion and dream in the NBA. A decision that his family and many relatives advised against. He made history by becoming the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. During his college career, he had some major accomplishments on and off the court. Lin finished his career as the first player in the history of the Ivy League to record at least 1,450 points (1,483), 450 rebounds (487), 400 assists (406) and 200 steals (225). He graduated Harvard with a degree in Economics and a 3.1 grade point average. This shows Jeremy Lin is not the average NBA player.
As a poised Harvard grad, Lin has often fought hate with love playing basketball. Sometimes the hate originated from jealousy and other times it could have originated from racism. His thought process in overcoming this "glass ceiling" showed his maturity and his intellectual humbleness. He was very humble during his time playing with the New York Knicks and when Linsanity exploded during his time he was filling in for a key player that was injured. We take a look at his experiences and his thoughts on racism below.
The racism is as subtle as choice in hair style. Jeremy Lin's thought process about having dreads changed after talking to a Nets staff member, who’s African-American, and her message really resonated with him. "Jeremy Lin told her about his thought process — how he was really unsure about getting dreads because he was worried that he would be appropriating black culture. She said that if it wasn’t my intention to be dismissive of another culture, then maybe it could be an opportunity to learn about that culture."
Jeremy Lin's words: I’ll be honest: At first I didn’t see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation. Growing up, I’d only ever picked from one or two hairstyles that were popular among my friends and family at the time. But as an Asian-American, I do know something about cultural appropriation. I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong. I know how much it bothers me when Hollywood relegates Asian people to token sidekicks, or worse, when it takes Asian stories and tells them without Asian people. I know how it feels when people don’t take the time to understand the people and history behind my culture. I’ve felt how hurtful it is when people reduce us to stereotypes of Bruce Lee or “shrimp fried rice.” It’s easy to brush some of these things off as “jokes,” but eventually they add up. And the full effect of them can make you feel like you’re worth less than others, and that your voice matters less than others.
Reading these comments and Lin's thought process, you realize his journey towards breaking through the NBA glass ceiling hasn't been easy. But as with anything in Life, you have to fight for those things you really want. Other keys to his success was that he was humble and he perservered despite all the criticism and obstacles. His ultimate message was for everyone to understand discrimination and racism leading to an understanding of other cultures. He wanted to be more of the conversation about race as an Asian-American as he had an unique platform to share his message. This is how a Harvard educated, Asian basketball player broke through the NBA glass ceiling...
Best Regards & Success,
NOTE: To read more about Jeremy Lin's journey click on the sources or video below.
Player's tribune blog - Jeremy Lin