There are rare occasions in which
I am able to sit in front of a TV to watch a full-length sports game.
This time, however, was different.
February 10, 2012. My eyes were
glued to the young athlete on the New York Knicks whom rode the
maverick-like wave of momentum from previous games to completely break apart the Los Angeles Lakers’ defense
team that went on to reach the Western Semifinals. This man went on to
become the story surrounding the sports world for half of a month.
Judging from the obvious context surrounding this article, you’ve
probably surmised that this athlete was none other than Jeremy Lin.
was one of the many kids who competed in Asian American-focused leagues
across basketball, soccer, and many of the popular sports played in
America through high school. The reactions from “Linsanity” certainly
transcended just race, but there was no doubting the impact watching Lin
had across all of us who were stigmatized for being somehow
“athletically inferior” due to our heritage and the color of our skin.
achievements earned by Asian Americans and Asians alike have been hard
to keep track of. From a pure American entertainment perspective, there
is a new sense of pride which resonates harder than it ever has before.
This can be seen in the huge following of recently-minted NBA player Rui Hachimura
, who was seen across the Las Vegas Summer League with over 60 media reporters from Japan documenting his every step.
something harder to notice, is the economic impact that these
marketable athletes have across Asian businesses. Most recently, Chinese
digital conglomerate Tencent and the NBA agreed to the largest global partnership deal in the history of sports
which is telling of the giant market for historically American-born
sports being watched all across the world. Stripped down to its core,
these successes are pinned back to the athletes that drive this global
Tennis player Naomi Osaka is the brand ambassador for Nissin Ramen. Golden State's partner is Rakuten, the Japanese equivalent of Tencent in China.<br>
the Tokyo 2020 Olympics fast approaching, and with the additions and
revitalizations of a couple sports such as competitive climbing and
baseball, we should expect to see brand new faces take the stage.
Ashima Shiraishi (18 y/o) will be set to represent the USA at the Summer Olympic Games in the inaugural "Bouldering" event<br>
made it my own personal goal this summer (2019) to begin diving into
the historical origins of Asian American representation within these
sports stories. The first sensible thing to do was to begin accumulating
a database of all of these athletes, both retired and active, to ensure
that nobody slipped through the cracks. The full — but still under
construction — database can be found here
intended or not, the ambassadors for the Asian American identity within
sports rests heavily on their shoulders. But if their performance and
accolades should be any indication, there’s no sense in worrying.