Jeremy Lin scored 25 points to lead the Hornets to victory over the Boston Celtics on April 11. Coming off a game where he did not make a shot, Lin hit the parquet with a purpose, scoring 19 in the second quarter alone. Lin played a terrific all-around game, going 10-of-10 from the free throw line and adding 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and just 1 turnover. Lin, who famously played his college ball at nearby Harvard, said afterwards it “felt like a home game for me.”
There were two reasons for that feeling. Besides being close to his alma mater, Boston was also hosting Asian American night at the arena. In acknowledging the fan support, Lin played it a little cool with the Asian aspect, saying: “I think it was like Asian night or whatever” before offering thanks to “whoever planned the event.” That “like” and that “whatever” are ways of playing down the Asian Night factor. It was Asian American night and Lin was well aware of it — no or whatever was necessary. But you can’t blame Lin, who is a proud and unflagging advocate for Asian American concerns, for not wanting to overemphasize his ethnicity just now. Throughout his career Lin has strived to be seen as just a basketball player, not an Asian basketball player. With Charlotte on a strong run headed into the playoffs, Lin coolly and sagely downplayed the “Asian night or whatever” part of his big game in Boston. Because Lin knows there won’t be any “Asian-American” nights in the playoffs — and he plans to get 25 points in some of those games too.