UI’s Showing of “Linsanity” Spotlights Issues of Sports, Ethnic Identity, Religion and Media

Tuesday, February 18 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho’s School of Journalism and Mass Media, with support from the UI Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Palouse Asian-American Association will present “Linsanity,” a 2013 documentary about Jeremy Lin, one of the first Asian-Americans to play in the National Basketball Association, on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, 508 S. Main in Moscow.

The free, public showing of the film will be followed by a panel discussion addressing the challenges that Lin, of Chinese and Taiwanese descent, faced in playing college basketball and being chosen for an NBA team. The panel will also examine the media stereotypes of Asian-Americans that both impeded Lin’s career and contributed to his celebrity status.

“Lin's story offers UI students and the community an inspiring and important reminder to all of us that despite being discounted for what you look like, or where you are from, perseverance and hard work can overcome what seem like insurmountable odds in the pursuit of your dreams,” said Michael Park, assistant professor of journalism and mass media.

In February 2012, the New York Knicks were having a truly unremarkable season and seemed unlikely to see post-season play, when a star emerged from their ranks. Jeremy Lin, a reserve point guard who was just days away from being released, set an NBA record by scoring more total points in his first five starts in addition to leading his team to a seven-game winning streak. This streak galvanized fans and sparked nationwide media frenzy.

While the Knicks’ sudden turnaround seemed like something out of a movie, Lin was the unlikely hero. Despite an excellent high school and college basketball career, Lin received no Division I scholarship offers and was never drafted in the NBA.

In this documentary, which debuted at the 2013 Sundance Festival, filmmaker Evan Jackson Leong tells the story of Lin's life on and off the court, including his relationship with his family, his college career at Harvard and his stint with the Houston Rockets. It also depicts how Lin deals with racism in a sport where few Asians excel and his strong Christian faith.

This film recounts the different narratives – religion, race, classic underdog story – that have attached to the “Linsanity” phenomenon, said Park, who teaches a cultural diversity and media course. It also helps explain why Lin’s meteoric rise resonated with so many basketball fans in the United States and around the world, he said

In addition to Park, panelists will include: Denise Bennett, assistant professor in the UI school of journalism and mass media, who teaches a course in documentary film; Mostafa Hegazy, clinical assistant professor in the UI department of movement science; Yong-Chae Rhee, assistant professor of sport management at Washington State University, and Sharon Stoll, director of the UI Center for ETHICS and professor of movement science.

About the School of Journalism and Mass Media
The University of Idaho School of Journalism and Mass Media (JAMM) combines hands-on professional programs with a liberal arts approach to the study of mass media. The School offers bachelor’s degrees in Advertising, Broadcasting and Digital Media, Journalism and Public Relations.


Michael Park, 208-885-6412208-885-6412, mpark@uidaho.edu
Kenton Bird, 208-885-4947208-885-4947, kbird@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.