Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin says his ethnicity led colleges, NBA to snub him
Lin was a high school star but did not land a major college scholarship, and he was not drafted by an NBA club
By Ginger Adams Otis / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Former New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin says his ethnicity is to blame for why he was not offered scholarships to major colleges and why he was passed over during the NBA draft.
In a “60 Minutes” interview that was excerpted Friday, the Houston Rockets point guard was asked why he didn’t get a free ride to play hoops at UCLA or Stanford after he led his high school team in Palo Alto, Calif., to a state championship.
“Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian-American … I think that was a barrier,” Lin told interviewer Charlie Rose.
CBS will air the full interview on Sunday. It explores his meteoric rise to fame after he came off the Knicks bench last spring as a relative unknown and created the phenomenon known as “Linsanity” with his remarkable play.
Ethnicity has no bearing on athletic skill, Lin says. But he acknowledges that outdated perceptions about race still exist.
“It’s just a stereotype,” he said.
Lin said he believes that if he were white or black he would have gotten a scholarship to his dream school, Stanford. He went to Harvard, where no athletic scholarships are granted.
Lin was a standout for Harvard, but the 6-foot-4 guard wasn’t selected by any of the National Basketball Association’s 32 teams in the entry draft following his senior year in 2011.
He broke into the pro league by playing in summer-league games. He then bounced around for a bit, never making a name for himself, until he joined the Knicks and injuries gave him a chance to play major minutes in February 2011. He made the most of it, engineering a Knicks winning streak with a series of stellar performances that made him a fan favorite.
Lin left New York in the offseason when the Rockets offered him a three-year contract.