Reporting Roseanne Tellez
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Derrick Rose is, without a doubt, the brightest basketball star in Chicago, if not its biggest sports star, period. But Rose and the Chicago Bulls’ success isn’t stopping “Linsanity” from taking root in Chicago, as New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin continues to dazzle the NBA.
An Asian American basketball player, benched most of his career so far, Lin has been on a roll. He’s so good, fans are calling his following “Linsanity.”
As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, he might play for the New York Knicks, but he’s already beloved here in Chicago.
Watching a replay of Lin’s game-winning 3-pointer Tuesday night in Toronto, one Asian American basketball player at Kelly High School said, “I’m thinking, there’s five seconds left and he’s got the ball. I think he’s gonna make something happen.”
Lin’s buzzer-beater against the Raptors was just the latest thrill in a two-week rise to stardom. But some Asian Americans said Lin’s been on their radar for a while.
“I’ve been following him since Harvard,” said Andrew Kang, senior staff attorney of the Asian American Institute.
Lin is also a devout Christian, which no doubt has helped his rise to stardom, given the obsession over quarterback Tim Tebow when he became the starter for the Denver Broncos and led them to the playoffs.
Kang said when Lin does well, it’s a score for the entire Asian American community, “to challenge the idea that stereotypes can’t be overcome, that you can’t be a good student and athlete, go to Harvard and the NBA.”
The NBA’s first Asian American player, Lin was undrafted out of Harvard in 2010. He signed with the Golden State Warriors, but was cut after the lockout last year. He was picked up by the Rockets, then cut again before he was picked up by the Knicks early in the season.
he mostly warmed the bench until he got his big break going in as point guard for the Knicks two weeks ago. It’s been Linsanity ever since.
“It makes me feel like, if he can do it, then why can’t I?” one of Kelly High’s players said.
Another player said, “I’m glad that he’s breaking stereotypes. It shows that Hispanics, or Asians, or anybody could do it, not just African Americans.”
Lin even wound up on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a story that transcends sports.
Kelly High teacher Janet Allen said, “He just looks like such a fine young man, and so humble, and it just, it’s a great American story.”
As for the Kelly High School Trojans, they might not have had their best season this year, but this “Lincredible” story gives them hope.
They would like nothing better than to attend the next Bulls-Knicks game. Kang said he has tickets for that matchup and wants to make it clear he loves the Lin story, but he’ll be rooting for Derrick Rose and company.