BASKETBALL, MERI JAAN centers on the life of Yeshodhara, a vibrant woman who immigrated to the United States from India thirty years ago. The film illustrates how her lifelong love of professional sports has served as a vehicle to create a community and sense of belonging for herself. For an Indian immigrant twice displaced, home is where the hoops are as she builds a strong and special connection with the local sports community. The documentary was made by Veena Hampapur of UCLA about her mother.
Diversity trainer Sam Louie put together a spokenword piece “Why Jeremy Lin?”. He speak of race issues during Linsanity to the recent Jeremy Lin interview on 60 Minutes with Charlie Rose. “what’s evident is not what they didn’t see, it’s that Asians are ignored in reality!”
Jeremy Lin shot from obscurity to stardom to become one of the few Asians to play professional basketball in the NBA. His sudden rise and stellar play became known as “Linsanity.” NBA standout Jeremy Lin’s failure to get a major college basketball scholarship or a roster spot through the NBA draft probably had to do with his Asian ethnicity, Lin and NBA Commissioner David Stern says. The opinions come to light in a profile of the Houston Rockets player, whose spectacular performances off the bench for the New York Knicks last spring spurred the catchword “Linsanity.”
Lin was chosen California’s player of the year when he led his Palo Alto High School team to a state championship. Asked by Rose why he didn’t get a scholarship to nearby UCLA or Stanford, Lin replies, “Well, the obvious thing in my mind is that I was Asian American which, you know, is a whole different issue but… I think that was a barrier.” Acknowledging that his ethnicity had nothing to do with his athletic ability, Lin says it was more of a perception of Asian Americans. “I mean… it’s just a stereotype,” he tells Rose. He believes that if he were a black or white player, he would have gotten a scholarship to his dream school, Stanford.
Lin, a brilliant student, went to Harvard instead, where no athletic scholarships are granted, and was a standout in that Division I program. But the six-foot-four-inch guard wasn’t drafted by any of the NBA’s 32 teams in 2011. Was race involved there, too? “I think in the true sense the answer to that is yes,” says the NBA’s Stern. “In terms of looking at somebody…I don’t know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard,” he says with a laugh, “Or because he was Asian.” The bottom line, says Stern, he didn’t have the usual background common to a vast majority of professional players.
Lin was forced to enter the NBA the hard way, through a summer league. That experience led him to a few short stints on pro teams and the NBA’s D-league, until the New York Knicks signed him for its bench. What happened next led to a familiar word in New York City and then the world, “Linsanity.” Lin substituted for injured stars and played so well, he became a sports phenomenon in the media capital of the world. Rose also speaks to Lin’s parents in this 60 MINUTES profile.
Charlie Rose reports for 60 Minutes on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Jeremy Lin interview on 60 Minutes – Linsanity: Jeremy Lin’s rise to stardom
Jeremy Lin interview on 60 Minutes – on race and its role in his basketball career
Follow Jeremy Lin as he takes you through his game day routine, and shows you how he prepares, warms up and recovers. For the video, he preps for Houston Rockets vs. L.A Lakers game on 1/8/2013. Jeremy looks to build up energy and focus leading up to game time. Part of the routine includes a hearty breakfast, playing some piano, and getting a nice long nap. After napping, he spends some personal time with God by reading the Bible and praying. He continues prepping for tip off both mentally & physically and giving it his all for the game. Post-game, Jeremy Lin hits the cryogenic chamber and conduct interviews with the media.
Sportscaster Rick Quan continues his interview series with Asian American sport figures. As the first Asian American head coach of a major college football program, Norm Chow talks about his 40 year football coaching career spanning BYU to the Tennessee Titans. How despite his great success with some of the biggest names in college football, did not get a chance to be a head coach until 2011. Along the way, he’s dealt with race issues and racism as he looked for opportunity to get ahead. Now, Norm Chow looks to make an impact at the University of Hawaii’s football program.
RICE FIELD OF DREAMS follows the journey of Cambodia’s First National Baseball Team as they prepare for and participate in the 24th Sea Games, an Olympics-like sports competition between South East Asian nations to be held in Bangkok. For the 22 young players Joe assembled and trained over the previous five years it is their first venture outside of their farming villages.
Along the way we experience the texture of daily life in these villages; meet the American coaches who have donated their time; and travel with the team to the culture shock inducing city of Bangkok for the competition.
But most of all, we experience the drama of the team’s five games. No one expects these rookies to best the competition their first time out, but nonetheless emotions run high. How well will they do? Will they even get a hit? How many hits? How many runs? They are representing their country and they want to succeed.
This film has it all: drama, humor, an exotic location and an athletic competition. A “West meets East” dynamic and an engaging cast of characters. But most of all RICE FIELD OF DREAMS has heart. As the final shots of the film assert, baseball is a gift to upcoming Cambodian generations and Joe Cook, complicated as he is, should be commended for offering such a gift.