By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin is trying not to get caught up in the buzz generated by his explosion onto the NBA scene but the Taiwanese-American point guard is glad to be helping break down stereotypes.
The league's only Taiwanese-American player was neither recruited by a major college basketball power nor drafted by any NBA team and after playing only 29 games in the league last season, was cut by two clubs before being signed by the Knicks.
After using his pinpoint passing to extend the Knicks' winning streak to seven with a 100-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Lin said he was happy to show that Asian-Americans could thrive in the NBA as could players from elite academic institutions such as his alma mater Harvard.
"There are definitely stereotypes, obviously," Lin said about preconceived notions about Asian-Americans being able to compete at the NBA level.
"There's a lot of them. The more we can do to break those down by the day, the better we'll become. Hopefully in the near future we'll see a lot more Asians and Asian-Americans playing basketball in the NBA."
California-born Lin said he was looking forward to returning to the homeland of his parents after the NBA season to host a basketball camp.
"I did that last summer as well," the soft-spoken 23-year-old said. "I have a strong passion for the game and I have a strong passion for Taiwan. I would love to do that.
"The kids were awesome. It was one of the highlights of my summer, so it's something I definitely want to do again."
Lin, who was not recruited by any U.S. college basketball powers, went to Harvard and earned a degree in economics.
Despite shining on the Ivy League stage, he was not drafted by any NBA teams. After playing less than 10 minutes per contest in 29 games last season for the Golden State Warriors, he was cut by two clubs this season before being signed by the Knicks.
He said he would also like to dispel the notion that players from elite academic universities could not compete at the highest level.
"That's another stereotype," Lin added. "Ivy League basketball is definitely on the rise. Harvard basketball is on the rise."
Lin said he was trying hard to stay focused and not get caught up in the excitement generated by his dazzling results since getting a chance to play.
"I want to be the same person, before and after. I don't want to let anything affect me or this team. Playing in New York is a big stage. That's obviously a temptation and the danger.
"We need to make sure we're sticking together. We put our egos aside, and when we put our egos aside and really buy into coach (Mike) D'Antoni's system we're going to win games."
Lin said the most surprising thing to him had been the way the Knicks (15-15) had bonded as a team.
"We were losing games and could have started pointing fingers," he said about losing nine of 10 before this winning streak.
"It's unbelievable right now. The camaraderie on this team is just ridiculous. It's just a joy to be around them every day. You show up to the practice facility and it's all smiles across the board. That's the beauty of team sports and that's the beauty of basketball."
(Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)