February 16th, 2012
05:57 PM ET

The Jeremy Lin phenomenon, as seen through the eyes of one Taiwanese-American kid

There's no shortage of words being written–and puns produced–about the sudden sensation that is New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin. The out-of-nowhere story has captivated New York, invigorated the NBA, and added a new page to the enduring American Dream mythology among kids–especially in places like Taiwan–around the world. CNN's Erin Burnett didn't have to look far to find just one kid: her nephew Jasper.

"I think he makes a lot of us proud," said Jasper, who's Taiwanese-American and, in Erin's words, "a huge sports fan."

"He's shown that Taiwanese-Americans can do good and succeed. He's one of the first NBA players to be Taiwanese-American, so it gives Taiwanese-Americans something to follow, something to be proud of."

And follow they do. In Taipei, every time Lin touches the ball–or sinks a basket–the news media kicks into overdrive–even if basketball itself isn't entirely understood. “I don’t know too much about basketball, but this is not how it should be done — why do they do it?” Lin's 85-year-old grandmother, Lin Chu, told The New York Times from her home in Taipei. “I know nothing about basketball. I only know when Jeremy puts the ball in the basket he has done a good thing.”

And as Neil Paine writes on SI.com, the Jeremy Lin story is not likely to vanish as quickly as it exploded. "If the magic of Lin's run has taught us anything, it's that he is a legitimate NBA player with strong playmaking skills and the ability to create his own shot. His stats probably won't stay in LeBron's and Kobe's territory forever, but point guards who fit that profile tend to have productive careers in the league."

And that's great news for Erin's nephew Jasper, who can't get enough.

Filed under: Erin's Essay
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