The National Basketball Association provides opportunities for players from different backgrounds who have exceptional talents in basketball. Even though the National Basketball Association is open to people from all races and ethnicities, racial disparities are evident in the players and the award of honors in the association. For instance, in 2011, the percentage of black Americans in the National Basketball Association was close to 80% Williams, W. (2012). This has fueled the thought that black American players are better at basketball compared to players from other races.
This is vindicated by luminaries in the game such as Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Shaquille O’neal, all who are of black American descent. The racial disparity is compounded by the fact that white players in the National Basketball Association account for 17%. Even more disconcerting is the fact that Asian players in the National Basketball Association account for a measly 1%. Additionally, of the 57 times that the Most Valuable Player award has been given, players of the African American descent have won the award 45 times (Williams, 2012). Contrary to popular opinion, this paper will exemplify the argument that Asians can also be good at basketball.
The prowess of Asian players in basketball is exemplified by players like Yao Ming. A colossal athlete born in China, Yao Ming has had a decorated career, both at with the national team and with the National Basketball Association. Yao Ming played for Houston in the National Basketball Association since he was drafted in the first pick in 2003. His career spanned for eight seasons until the 2010-2011 season. He played four hundred and eighty six games in the regular season and 28 games in the play offs. In addition to exploits with his team, his career was laden with individual awards and achievements (Land of Basketball, 2014).
These include an eight time National Basketball Association All-Star award for seven consecutive seasons between 2003 and 2009 and also in 2011. Yao Ming is also a five time All- National Basketball Association team, was in the second team in 2007 and 2009 and in the third team in 2004, 2006 and 2008. When his career with Houston started in 2003, Ming was included in the National Basketball Association All-Rookie First Team and the National Basketball Association Rookie All-Star game in 2004 (Land of Basketball, 2014).
Ming also won several individual awards with his national team. For instance, Ming won the gold medal within his national team in the FIBA Asian Championship in 2001, 2003 and 2005. He was also awarded the Most Valuable Player individual award at the FIBA Asian Championship in 2001, 2003 and 2005. At the FIBA Asian Championship in 2002, Ming was included in the All-Tournament Team. He was also the champion of the Chinese Basketball Association in the 2001-2002 season, a season in which he was also the rebounding leader (Mack, 2014). In 2003, Ming was named the Rookie of the Year by Sporting News and the Newcomer of the Year by Laureus (Laureus, 2003).
Like Yao Ming, Jeremy Lin exemplifies the prowess of Asian players in basketball. Jeremy Lin is an American citizen of Taiwanese descent. In 2012, Jeremy Lin was awarded with the Best Breakthrough Athlete accolade (Friedman, 2012). This individual accolade exemplifies the industry of Jeremy Lin (Harris, 2012), a player who shot into the limelight for the New York Knicks. His exploits for the team saw him come off the bench to lead his team to a winning streak lasting seven games. This shows his leadership skills for the team and the benefits that the team drew from his sportsmanship (Taipei Times, 2012). Currently, Jeremy Lin plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
As a relatively young basketball player, Jeremy Lin has enjoyed a good career, both in the National Basketball Association and in college for Harvard. In college, Jeremy Lin played one hundred and fifteen games for Harvard. His exploits has a collegiate basketball player saw him make history as the first player from the Ivy League to ever record one thousand, four hundred and fifty points, four hundred and fifty rebounds, four hundred assists and two hundred steals. In terms of games player, Jeremy Lin ranks first in Harvard, second in terms of steals, fifth in terms of points and also assists. Jeremy Lin was also named in the All-Ivy League in both the junior and senior level. Jeremy Lin was also named the USBWA All-District One First Team in addition to his recognition in the NABC All-District Thirteen in the senior level (National Basketball Association 2014).
In conclusion, these two athletes exemplify the potential of Asian players in a sport that is dominated by players of the African American descent. The prowess of the players is not just seen in their ability to get regular play time, but for their contribution in the team with points, steals, assists and rebounds. Additionally, the fact that they featured for high profile teams, in arguably the best basketball association globally speaks of the prowess of Asian players. Yao Ming has featured both for the Chinese Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association, where he won both team and individual accolades. His exploits in the Olympics also show his dynamism and talent. Jeremy Lin, still with more years to his career, has enjoyed relative success with both record breaking performances and individual accolades in addition to team wins. These two athletes of Asian descent show that Asian can also be good at basketball.
Friedman, O. (2012). ESPY Awards 2012: Jeremy Lin and 3 Most Undeserving Winners. Retrieved from> http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1256154-espy-awards-2012-jeremy- lin-and-4-most-undeserving-winners
Harris, B. (2012). ESPY Winners: Jeremy Lin, Tim Tebow And LeBron James Win At 2012 ESPYS. Retrieved from< http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/espys-award- results-griner-quick-rodgers-brees_n_1666942.html
Land of Basketball (2014). Yao Ming Profile. http://www.landofbasketball.com/nba_players /m/yao_ming.htm
Laureus (2003). 2003 Awards. Retrieved from> http://www.laureus.com/content/yao- ming?awardyear=2003&nomwin=w
Mack, L. (2014). Chinese Athletes - Yao Ming. Retrieved from> http://chineseculture.about.com /od/2008beijingolympics/p/Chinese-Athletes-Yao-Ming.htm
National Basketball Association (2014). Jeremy Lin: Profile. Retrieved from> http://www.nba.com/playerfile/jeremy_lin/bio/
Taipei Times (2012). Jeremy Lin wins top award in US. Retrieved from> http://www.taipeitimes.com/ News/sport/archives/2012/07/14/2003537699
Williams, W. (2012). Diversity, ignorance and stupidity. Retrieved from> http://fee.org/ the_freeman/detail/diversity-ignorance-and-stupidity