Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wild Speculation and Outlandish Guesses: Tagalog and Hebrew Edition

What was the biggest NON-Jeremy Lin story from last week?

Jordan Durlester: The biggest non-Lin story of last week was me being upset at myself for not going to see Lin play more often (oh, I know this is a cop out of an answer). Palo Alto High School is a fairly short drive from where I grew up and I had tons of opportunities to go watch him play...but I didn't end up going. I had planned on seeing him his senior year of college when his Harvard squad came to Santa Clara to square off...but I didn't end up going. My brother worked for the Reno Big Horns last year and told me on plenty of occasions to come catch a game while Jeremy was up there...but I didn't end up going. I'm as proud and happy for him as I am upset and disgusted at myself.

Jacob Greenberg: So, I just watched J-Lin hit a three pointer to make Linsanity an international phenomenon. All he does is WIN, WIN, WIN.

No. He doesn't Lin, Lin, Lin. He wins, wins, wins. Stop. No one can use that pun ever again. I mean it.

Anyways, it's hard to think of another story that doesn't involve Jeremy Lin. I'll throw out this New York Times Headline: Two Polls Show a Santorum Surge. Somebody better clean off those polls, then! Hey yo!

Franklin Mieuli: Unless we count the Warriors winning three in a row (we don't), I think we have approached the rookie wall. For the uniniated, the rookie wall appears somewhere around the 25-40 game mark of the season. Rookies, used to a 30 game college season with only two or three games a week, get tired. Flying across country, playing against stronger men instead of boys, rookies start getting injured and start playing with fatigued legs. Kyrie Irving and Marshon Brooks are injured, and Ricky Rubio, Tristan Thompson, Marcus Morris and Norris Cole have started struggling. I expect we'll see rookie player get worse for a couple of weeks.

Long Bui: The end of the Lance Armstrong doping probe. Barry Bonds apparently cost We the People a cool $55 million, I wonder what our bill for this will be. Bravo Jeremy, on being sensational enough to cover up government largesse! Is there anything you can’t do?

#Linsanity has shown us a very proud Taiwanese-American community in America. What other ethnic community is yearning for a transcendent basketball player?

Jordan Durlester: Omri just isn't cutting it for me. Jewish males like myself tend to be huge sports fans, but lack the athletic prowess needed to make it in the association. Just once I'd love to see a 6'0 point guard from Skokie, Illinois or a 5'11 pure shooter from Boca Raton, Florida captivate America like Jeremy has. The nicknames and hashtags would be endless.

Jacob Greenberg: There is no country that loves basketball more than the Philippines. It is the country's national sport, and some of the game's finest strategic minds hail from the Philippines. Moreover, the Philippine Basketball Association is arguably the most exciting professional basketball league in th entire world, with its fast paced ball and guard-heavy play (also, Tagalog is the greatest language in the world to accompany a basketball game). PBA greats Samboy Lim and Noli Locsin are among my favorite basketball players of all times. However, despite a strong affinity and adroitness for the sport, Filipinos are wildly underrepresented in the NBA. Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, is half-Filipino. Other than that, Raymond Townsend, a Filipino-American role player who played in the NBA from 1978-1982, is the only other representative. A PBA great named Johnny Abarrientos (a 5'7'' point guard nicknamed "The Flying A") once declined an invite to attend training camp with the Charlotte Hornets to concentrate on his PBA career. And Nate Robinson claims to be 1/8 Filipino, though there doesn't seem to be any truth to his assertion. It would be phenomenal if a Filipino or Filipino American player made it to the NBA. No country appreciates basketball quite like the Philippines.

Franklin Mieuli: Jordan has hit the nail on the head. Part of the reason Lin has caught fire within the Taiwanese-American community is because he breaks the quiet, polite, piano-playing, nonathletic, Harvard-attending stereotype. The stereotype of the Jewish athlete is even worse: I won't even link to depictions of effeminate, sickly Jews. I think the moment a nice boy with a Jewfro and some chutzpah hit the court, the Jewish-American community will go wild.

Long Bui: Great guys, another thing for Jews to dominate. #kidding! I’m with Jacob on this one, I didn’t even know they could ball until he suggested we watch some Philippines basketball together since, at the time, American pro basketball had in fact stopped. I never did watch a game though Jacob certainly did. For a primer, re-read his response. Those Filipinos, they sure do love their ball.

Is it easier to "arrive" on the national scene in the Twitter era? Do breakthrough stories have the chance to sustain, or will they be swallowed up the next time Blake Griffin dunks over a guy?

Jordan Durlester: There's simply no denying that in the Twitter era stories like Jeremy's are more easily accessible but in order for it to be sustainable he's going to have to keep producing like he has in this small sample size. The NBA has always been a "what have you done for me now?" type of league, and if Lin's numbers fall off so will his press coverage. What he's done for the Taiwanese-American community has been fantastic, but at the end of the day fans are for the most part only interested in one thing; winning.

Jacob Greenberg: No doubt social media has played a huge role in Jeremy Lin's rise to memedom, or a pop culture icon. But his rise to basketball stardom? That's just straight up skills, man. He's got a poorly built team with two misplaced (and injury-prone) stars and a shallow bench playing with intensity, pride, and confidence every single night now. He's inspiring professional basketball players -- grown me, who get paid whether they win or lose -- to play like they're representative of a proud institution. J-Lin has a stage presence, maturity, and leadership style that doesn't reflect his years. I think Linsanity will die down, but that will be because everyone will accept him as a legitimate professional basketball player.

Franklin Mieuli: There have always been players who burst onto the scene, and then left as quickly as they came, and they always will be. Perhaps in the Twitter-era we will recognize these short-lived phenoms sooner, but at some point they sustained basketball excellence is required.

Long Bui: Fact: people love transcendent stories. Matt Christopher literally made a career out of crafting these things. It’s why Rudy and The Blind Side were box office successes and why Friday Night Lights is critically acclaimed. Moments of greatness like sweet dunks are awesome, but they don’t have the staying power that comes with meaningful narrative. I can’t relate to the feeling of jumping over a man or multiple laterals for a touchdown but a story of a kid overcoming barriers to eventually achieve success? Yea, I feel that, I think we all do. And thanks to social media, we all get to talk about it, geography be damned.

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