me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Well, since you asked

In yesterday's comment section, this from Me Me, who is, I believe, in Hawaii. Or at least, hails from Hawaii. (And is not My My, who's someone else entirely.)

"This is an off-the-subject comment. I have been waiting for your comments on Jeremy Lin! He's a Knick, he's Chinese-American -- doesn't somebody have an opinion, be it you or...? The Dallas game removed my doubts & I'm rooting for them, as long as they don't beat my Spurs. Happy balling!"

I think that's what they call an open door, is it not? I've been restraining myself, because I know not all of you are hoops fans, and the level of Linsanity in NYC (what a non-baller friend of mine mistakenly referred to as "Jeremania," which is kind of nice, too) (and you know who you are) -- the level, I repeat, is so stupendous that who needs to hear what I have to say? In fact, who even CAN hear what I have to say?

But Me Me asked, so now I get to spout off.

I love the guy. Love, love, love. Unreservedly. Once the NBA strike was over -- a pissing contest between two groups of rich guys, with the owners the bigger bad guys but the players not innocent -- and the so-called season resumed, the Knicks owner, which is Madison Square Garden itself, which is the Dolan brothers, got into another pissing contest with Time-Warner Cable, trying to hold them up for an exorbitant amount of money to broadcast games from MSG. Rangers fans had their own issues with that (hockey, for you non-jocks) but as for Knicks fans, honestly, we hardly cared. That team has been a disease, an illness, a barnacle on the butt of NY sports fans, for years. Those of us who remember the Patrick Ewing days could only wonder which of Harry Potter's enemies had cast a spell on us, could only search our past-life regression memories to try to recall what we'd done to deserve this dysfunctional disaster of a so-called team. The idea that the Dolans were trying to extort a big wad of dough out of Time-Warner for the privilege of showing guys in Knick uniforms get balls stuffed in their faces was just barely a bigger laugh than the team itself.

Then, Jeremy Lin.

Keep in mind that about half the people I regularly play ball with are Asian American, mostly Chinese American. And if you're reading this blog you know something about me so you're aware of my interest in things Asian. Jeremy Lin broke over NY like a wave, especially in my world. It would be hard to exaggerate the extent to which the Asian newspapers, blogs, text-messages, phone calls, sidewalk chalk, and every possible kind of media suddenly started burning up with "Jeremy Lin!" Jeff Yang says it best, here. Jeff Yang often says it best, by the way, and if you're interested in Asian American issues, or good journalistic writing, or both, you might want to be reading him. The point is, Jeremy Lin is someone any of my basketball buddies can imagine being. Unlike Yao Ming, who was a great basketball player but a foreigner, and therefore, yes, exotic, Jeremy Lin is some Chinese-American California dude who went to high school in Palo Alto and graduated with honors from Harvard. There are so, so many like him. Only this one also plays serious basketball like any airborne sharp-elbowed gym rat you can name. Except better.

Jeremy Lin has done an amazing thing. He's galvanized Asian Americans and Knicks fans, the first of which is a very large group and the second a very loud one. (Also, incidentally, Ivy Leaguers, but that leaves many of us less moved.) And he's done it with grace, grounded good sense, and sweetness; without false modesty, but with real humility. Without boasting, but with astonishing, intuitive talent matched with extraordinarily hard work. He's breathtaking, as a player, and as a 23-year-old able to handle these last two weeks without losing sight of the point: to play good basketball, to have fun, and to win.

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