Newswise — Undrafted and Harvard educated, Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks is the NBA’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent. Lin is making a big splash in a big way. Why? Ithaca College professor of sport management and media Stephen Mosher offers two reasons for Linsanity.
“With the retirement of Shanghai-born Yao Ming [who ended his eight-year career with the Houston Rockets in 2011], the NBA’s corporate impulse is to latch on to and promote Lin in order stay relevant in the Chinese market,” Mosher said. “This has worked well in Taiwan, but I hear from my younger colleagues in mainland China that Lin’s overt Christianity makes him a deeply problematic character for the NBA to use to promote itself.”
Mosher offers a second factor.
“The NBA is so desperate to make the regular season relevant, with teams exhausted and unprepared from the cramped and crazy schedule that came about after the lockouts, this is a perfect human interest story to lead fans and casual viewers away from the quite diminished product—the games.”
Mosher is well versed in sport ethics and moral development, sport heroes and villains, and sport and popular culture. He is currently working on an ethnography of bowling, which discusses how that sport plays a central role in the civic engagement of blue collars workers.