Jeremy Lin supposedly looked scared during the Heat's scorching of the Knicks, but his chippy comments during the All-Star break about racially-coded commentary of his play shows that he is not backing down from anyone.
It is not easy to be forthright in addressing issues of race these days.
Any time the subject is broached in the sports world, people take to comment boards to derail the discussion, suggesting that in a perceived "post-racial" society it is only the overly sensitive and out-of-touch who want to dredge up these topics.
It would be easy, then, for Lin to spout some demure cliches every time he is asked about race or ethnicity.
He could just turn his head down bashfully and say something like, "Oh, I don't worry about any of that stuff. I'm just concerned with playing basketball."
Instead, he was explicit about the implicit.
You know when commentators say that Lin is "deceptively athletic" or "deceptively quick" that they mean "quick for an Asian," or "athletic for an Asian." They say the same about Steve Nash and in his case, you can just substitute white for Asian.
Well, Lin is calling BS on that rhetoric. "I'm not sure what's deceptive" he says in a sly, cool tone.
This is a great sign, Knicks fans.
People want Lin to be so many different things to so many different people. It is clear in the face of both stunning victories and disheartening losses that Lin's identity is rooted and he is not adjusting anyone's set who wants a different picture of him.
Lin is a Christian, Asian-American, point guard with a purposeful "chip on his shoulder."
"Linsantity" may abate in the face of defeat and poor Lin performances. Jeremy Lin will not.