Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The GCAST - Episode 3 - MLB Controversies and NFL Draft


Inside this episode:

- GCAST welcomes 2 new guests to the show!
- Ryan Braun controversy in the MLB
- Albert "el Hombre" Pujols?
- What to do about the MLB and Bud Selig?
- Andrew Luck vs. RG3
- Houston Texans offseason
- Send your questions and comments to our mailbag at GCASTmail@gmail.com and get featured in our podcasts!

Podcasts are now STREAM ONLY. Due to demand, 500+ plays and 50+ downloads, our monthly bandwidth already ran out after the first week! Please contact any of our writers if you would like to donate to increase our bandwidth!



Photos and content courtesy of the MLB and NFL. Music courtesy of Jay-Z and Doogie Howser.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

EPL Power Rankings

This is a new weekly column covering the Barclays Premier League. Every Tuesday, we'll go through the table (standings) and talk about each team's current form and projected finish as well as next week's matchups. If you are new to soccer, the Premier League is the easiest and most popular league to follow. If you want to pick a team, any of the top 7 are safe bets. If you want to root for a team with some Americans, Fulham (Clint Dempsey) and Everton (Tim Howard, Landon Donovan was just there on loan) are also good picks. We'll be running this column until the end of the season!

"The Race for Top Four (Painstakingly Relevant)"
(1) Manchester City – 63 pts – Crushed Rovers last week and are straight-up cruising at the moment. Tevez rumored to be on the reserve team and will improve an already scary striker corps. Beating up on Bolton this Saturday will help their confidence for the homestretch as the Citizens look to claim their first league title.
(2) Manchester United – 61 pts More like a 1b than a 2. Breathing down the neck of their in-town rival, but it took an extra time goal against Norwich to keep their title hopes alive. A tough matchup looms on Sunday against the Spurs, but the Red Devils have not lost to Tottenham in over 10 years.
(3) Tottenham Hotspur – 53 pts – Heartbreaking defeat to rival Arsenal on Sunday after going up 2-0 ends any title aspirations. Not much time to recover as United rolls into White Hart Lane on Sunday. Spurs will look to take out their frustrations against one of the weakest XI that United has fielded in the last 5 years.
(4) Chelsea – 46 pts – Currently tied for 4th with Arsenal, even after a recent string of poor outings. If Mata, Sturridge, and Drogba start rolling, this team is capable of pushing for 3rd. Clinical win over Bolton last Saturday means that AVB’s job is safe, at least for another week.
(5) Arsenal – 46 pts – What a difference one game makes. Thought to be dead after a stunning loss to Milan in the Champions League and then bowing out of the FA Cup against lowly Sunderland, all is right at Emirates right now as Wenger and Co. ride a galvanizing win over the rival Spurs. A trip to Anfield on Saturday to play Carling Cup champs Liverpool will be a litmus test for how far the Gunners go.
(6) Liverpool – 40 pts – League match versus Everton was postponed for the Carling Cup final, which was decided on penalties. Liverpool was very happy to take home some hardware and will face a revitalized Arsenal in an important match that could decide who competes for top 4. Look for King Kenny to play attacking football.
(7) Newcastle United – 43 pts Blowing a 2-0 lead against lowly Wolves is not what the doctor ordered after a 5-0 drubbing by Spurs the week before. Although they still came away with a draw, the Magpies cannot be dropping points if they are serious about contending for a Champions League spot.

"Meh-table (Sadly Irrelevant)"
(8) Sunderland – 33 pts – New coach Martin O’Neill has the Black Cats playing some excellent football recently, but the 4-0 beating sustained at the hands of West Brom Albion last Saturday was not pleasant. Claiming Newcastle’s scalp this week will go a long way in building confidence for their FA Cup run.
(9) Norwich City – 35 pts – Who? The Canaries might have just come up this past season, but no one is taking them lightly anymore. They took United the distance and almost came away with a point. Will look to build on that with a trip to Stoke on Saturday.
(10) Everton – 33 pts – Very sad to see Landon Donovan go back to the Galaxy, but he was instrumental in Everton’s recent form and resurgence up the table. Tim Howard is still an incredibly capable keeper, and the addition of Steven Pienaar will help. Will match up against Queens Park this Saturday.
(11) Stoke City – 33 pts – No one likes to play the Potters at dirthole Brittania Stadium, as Norwich comes into town. Stoke will look to build on a convincing 2-0 result versus Swansea and move up the table.
(12) Fulham – 33 pts – Clint Dempsey has been lights out recently as the Cottagers take on a reeling Wolverhamption squad.
(13) West Brom Albion – 32 pts – No one thought WBA was going to be hanging around, but coach Roy Hodgson has this team playing some great football. Big matchup as Chelsea comes to town on Saturday, and the Baggies would like nothing more than to take down the Blues.
(14) Swansea City – 30 pts – The league’s only Welsh team, the Swans have claimed some major scalps so far as they are 9 points clear of relegation. They are looking to stick around and play last place Wigan this weekend.
(15) Aston Villa – 29 pts – The Lions are clearly the most underperforming team in the league so far this season, and things keep getting worse as key player Darren Bent is stretchered off in their draw against relegation-zone Wigan. Maybe a trip to Ewood Park against Blackburn will help, but maybe not.

"The Relegation Zone (Amusingly Relevant)"
(16) Wolverhamption Wanderers –22 pts – Wolves are in a bit of disarray after dismissing manager Mick McCarthy. A gutsy draw against Newcastle helps, and a win against Fulham at Craven Cottage will restore confidence in this plucky team.
(17) Queens Park Rangers – 21 pts– New owners, but results are still clearly leaving something to be desired. Should do enough to stay out of relegation, but teams here are all so close. Will play a strong Everton squad on Saturday.
(18) Blackburn Rovers – 21 pts –Poor Rovers. New ownership has not invested, as they continue to sell any and all valuable players. Aston Villa is looking very vulnerable, and a win could get them out of the basement. However, more than likely, it looks like relegation is in the cards.
(19) Bolton Wanderers – 20 pts –Nothing to be happy about over at the Reebok. Will not get easier as they travel to Etihad Stadium to take on leader Manchester City this weekend. Hide your kids; this could be a beatdown.
(20) Wigan Athletic – 20 pts – Going nowhere fast, a win against Swansea would take some of the pressure off. The Latics are better than their record suggests, but they just can’t seem to put the ball in the net.

This Week's Match Predictions
Saturday
Arsenal at Liverpool, 2-3: The big matchup of the week starts early this Saturday. Liverpool takes this one in a hotly contested matchup. RVP will bag the game-tying goal, but Suarez will save the day with minutes to spare.
Aston Villa at Blackburn, 1-1: Both teams not in great form. A poor display of football.
Bolton at Manchester City, 0-3: Bolton is useless. This could be worse, but City will rest their stars in the 2nd half.
Everton at QPR, 2-0: Everton’s recent form has been excellent. QPR, not so much.
Norwich at Stoke, 1-2: Any game at Britannia is ugly, and although Norwich has played well, the Potters will gut this one, like they usually do.
Chelsea at WBA, 3-1: Chelsea will come out and play -- just too talented for WBA.
Swansea at Wigan, 1-2: Upset special! Wigan comes out strong, and Moses and Di Santo each get on the scoresheet.

Sunday
Sunderland at Newcastle, 1-3: Newcastle needs this result badly, and Ba and Cisse do some dances as the Magpies take 3 points.
Wolves at Fulham, 0-2: Dempsey continues to find the net, and the Wolves continue to disappoint.
United at Spurs, 2-2: In our final match of the week, the Spurs will answer the call and play some good football but once again fall short of beating United. Both teams will be pleased with the result.

The Heart Exam - Nicolas Batum

Don't look now, Tony Parker, but it looks like your reign of best French NBA player might come to an end soon. Nicolas Batum has been one of the hottest players in many fantasy leagues, and he's quickly shown the Blazers what he can do in the starting lineup. No idea what I'm talking about? Take a look at his averages in the last 6 games since taking over as the starting shooting guard. 21.3ppg, 2.7 3s, 5.6reb, 1stl, 1.5blk while shooting 52% from the field, 46% from 3pt line, and 86% from the line.

Back when the Blazers pulled the draft day trade in 2008 and pried Batum away from the hands of Daryl Morey and the Rockets by sending Donte Greene and Joey Dorsey to Houston, Portland thought they were getting a Rudy Gay-type of player in return. However, in Batum's first 3 seasons as Portland's starting shooting guard, he's looked to be another Thabo Sefalosha. Lanky, athletic, and a defensive specialist who can shoot the 3. In other words, a letdown.

Batum was on the fast track to becoming just a "role" player in the NBA when coach McMillan moved Batum to the bench at the start of this season. Many will look at his current 6-game streak and call it a fluke. With career averages of roughly 9 points a game, Batum has not given us many reasons to believe that he can sustain this run. But if you look beyond the numbers, you will find that this kid's got heart.

Playing in the last year of his rookie contract, Batum knows that this is the time to display his value. There are no more reasons to hold back. When the Blazers' franchise player, Brandon Roy, retired at the beginning of the season, it opened the door for a player like Batum to fill that void. A lot of credit goes to coach McMillan for moving Batum to the bench. Time spent on the bench has allowed Batum to mature mentally, and it shows in his game.

On the Feb. 6th game against the Thunder, Batum's number got called for the last play to win the game.


Batum made the smart play by driving for a lay up. However, he clearly shied away from the contact and flinched at the defensive presence of Russell Westbrook when all he needed to do was to rise up and dunk the finish to win the game. The Blazers would go on to lose the game in OT. This would become a pivotal learning moment in Batum's season. A week later, Batum faced a similar situation in a game against Washington. In his second appearance as a starter this season, Batum didn't shy away from NBA blocking machine, Javale "Future of the NBA" McGee.


In a quote after the game, Batum remarked:
"Sometimes, in the past, I got a flash and I was more aggressive, I dunk on people," Batum said. "But I wouldn't do it every time. Sometimes I was worried about getting a block or a charge called on me. But now, sometimes I have to tell myself, 'OK, just go. Go and see what happens.' I've got to be aggressive every game. And now I know I can do it. I feel like a different player."

Suffit d'aller, Batum, suffit d'aller.

Photos and video courtesy of nbadrafthats.tumblr.com and youtube.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Dallas Mavericks: Past to Future

A fan's perspective.

Left to Right: Dirk Nowitzki, Don Nelson, Steve Nash
I am a fan of the Dallas Mavericks. I don’t bleed colors. I bleed Dirk Nowitzki. To me and to probably many others who have followed the team over the years, he is the consummate Maverick. In one of the most blatant public displays of thievery since gas prices were 99 cents to the gallon, the Dallas Mavericks swapped draft picks with the Milwaukee Bucks to land the 1998 9th overall draft pick along with Pat Garrity (who was later traded to the Phoenix Suns for a backup point guard by the name of Steve Nash) for the overall 6th pick Robert Traylor. “Tractor” Traylor would end up being one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history, battling for playing time (and his BMI) after his inaugural season. Dirk struggled initially to adapt to the bigger stronger power forwards in the NBA earning the name “irk” (for playing no D) but in 2000 the basketball gods (no heresy intended) sent the Mavericks an offering in the form of a young, rambunctious, jack-of-all-trades billionaire owner.

To say that Mark Cuban reformed the Dallas Mavericks franchise would be a radical understatement. He created a comfortable environment for players to grow and develop. Interpretation: he dropped a few Benjamins. Players were put in five star hotels, meals were catered before and after practices, a new 747 was purchased for team travel and coaches were hired until there was a 1:1 player to coach ratio. Cuban was an open book (and an open wallet) and Maverick fans were all drinking nectar from the cup of the new owner’s ambrosia. Fans had fought through the futility of the early ‘90s, withstood the failure of “The Three Js” (Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn and Jason Kidd) in the mid ‘90s, and at the dawn of the new millennium the city of Dallas had reason to hope that its team could become legitimate contenders in the West.

And contend we did…in the regular season. Dallas made perennial appearances to the playoffs from the 2000-01 to 2003-2004 seasons only to fall to the likes of the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs. In 2005, we retooled the lineup adding Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse and Devin Harris but lost Steve Nash to free agency. And then came the player who would put us over the top. Eric(ka) Dampier - the presence we had always lacked in the middle (yes, always, Shawn Bradley’s best performance was in Space Jam). He was the final piece in a puzzle that seemed to require too many pieces. So in 2006, the Dallas Mavericks made the NBA finals. In 2006, the Democrats took control of the Senate. In 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. In 2006, a large earthquake in Indonesia left 1.5 million homeless. In 2006, the Dallas Mavericks broke my heart.

But time moves forward and in the 2006-07 season the Dallas Mavericks ended the regular season with the best record in the NBA only to (insert euphemism for fail). In 2007, Dirk is still labeled as “soft” and a “choker”, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aarons batting record, Hillary Clinton ran for President, and there were probably a lot more earthquakes. You get the idea.

I’m going to fast-forward to June 2011 because I’m getting depressed. All questions about Dirk are answered and his legacy established at the expense of the NBA superteam: the Miami Heat. The Mavericks are finally NBA champions for the first time. Jubilation. Redemption. Dirk becomes the definition of every good-natured cliché Jalen Rose has used on air. The world acknowledges what every real Maverick fan already knew; Dirk is one of the greatest of all time. He has no shoe to sell you. He is tone deaf and cannot sing “We are the Champions” worth a lick, but he posts stats that rival NBA legends and is one of the most clutch players…EVER. I was able to experience the final win with two of my closest friends and two of the most hard-core Mavs fans I know. In 2011, Osama Bin Laden was killed.

"Never Underestimate the Heart of a Champion"

Now that we’re over 6 months removed from the 2011 playoffs I must apologize. I told my wife that if the Mavericks beat the Heat last year that I would be satisfied and I wouldn’t care about the NBA for the next 5 years. I lied. One is never enough. I want more. This year, the Mavs shook up their entire championship lineup. We lost Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea to free agency but picked up bargains in Vince Carter, Delonte West, and Lamar Odom (I really wrestled with whether or not I should include him). Cuban obviously made a decision (very wise in my opinion) to save money and space for this summer when Deron Williams and Dwight Howard will be unrestricted free agents. Deron is a Dallas native. Dallas is on D12s short list of places he would like to play. Why would he want to go to the Lakers…to be the butt end of a Shaq/Kobe comparison? No chance. If Dwight does not get traded to New Jersey (who can only offer Brook Lopez) before the trade deadline, mark my words: the Dallas Mavericks will sign BOTH Deron Williams (a super Dallas homer) and D12 and we will become a dynasty. Dallas fans, let us all salivate at that thought. 3D will have a whole new meaning.

Left to Right: D12, D41, D8

Inaugural-ly,

Hard Work and Faith Doesn't Always Equal Success


Kurt Warner's book
Josh Hamilton on ESPN cover
In our recent era of sports, it seems like every outspoken Christian athlete is finding unusual success at the professional level. Kurt Warner, Josh Hamilton, Tim Tebow, and Jeremy Lin have all gone through different paths, but the similarities they share lie in their faith and perseverance to succeed when at times they themselves must have had doubts. But amidst all the feel good stories, we can forget that the most important thing is not about the success of getting to the top. This may sound cliché, which in fact it actually is, but that’s because it’s the truth. A while back, I wrote a post titled “Win or Lose, It’s How You Play the Game,” which focused on the beauty of the game and the beauty of losing. The funny thing about faith is the core belief that there will never be tangible proof; hence there are also no guarantees. The amazing part of these stories is that the athletes kept going when they could have given up, whether it was when Kurt Warner was packing groceries, Josh Hamilton sitting in rehab, or new golden boy Jeremy Lin realizing he might never grow past his 5’3” high school freshman height. However, what would their stories mean to us or even themselves if they failed? Would we praise them, would we hate on them, would any of these men even be relevant? Without the miracle late game comebacks, there is no “Tebowmania,” and without the Knicks being so desperate to try anything, there is no “Linsanity.”

They say you grow and learn more from failure, but we all know that it also can mean needing to fight that much harder to get back to the same opportunities. What stuck with me from this past NFL playoffs didn’t come from any winning team, but instead how two teams handled their losses. The Ravens and 49ers could have deservingly gotten the chance to play for this past Super Bowl, but multiple devastating mistakes turned the dream into a real life nightmare. We have become a society that is unforgiving towards those who have made mistakes in critical moments, like Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman. Easily the names of Kyle Williams and Billy Cundiff could be added to the list. Our society replays people’s failures in big moments over and over, keeping the nightmare from passing. But something changed this time, and after all the hate tweets and Facebook statuses were posted, people decided to stand up for the accused athletes. I mentioned before the respect I now have for Ray Lewis because of the way he came out and defended his teammates and took responsibility for the loss as a team. His post-game locker room speech will stick with me forever. And after multiple death threats to Kyle Williams, it took a letter from a 7 year old for the world to realize that he simply made a mistake; a mistake in a kid’s game that adults blew way out of proportion.

In the same post mentioned above, I also spoke about Colt McCoy. He recently did an interview with a pastor in Austin, Texas, reflecting back on the ill-fated turn of events at the National Championship game against Alabama. Colt might never have a chance to win the Super Bowl or even make the playoffs. As the starting quarterback on a team that has struggled for years, it is hard to imagine a turnaround in the near future, not to mention rumors of Cleveland picking up another prospect quarterback in this upcoming draft. As a Texas alumni and fan of Colt McCoy, it worries me that he will be cut and maybe he will never have a fairytale ending. But society needs to take notice and listen to what a man like Colt has to say. A man’s word when things are going well can only carry so much weight, but a man praising God during the worst nightmare of his life has an impact like no other. Sometimes hard work can only get you so far. Sometimes a freak accident happens or the ball takes a funny bounce and brushes against your knee. Some call it fate and others call it chance, but whatever it is, I call it life. There are so many life problems in today’s world that are far graver, from human trafficking to world hunger. Just last week, I saw a building about 50 yards from my apartment burst into flames. It was completely destroyed, and it was a tragic reminder that everything we love and care about could be gone in a moment. Life just isn’t always fair. What happened to Colt certainly wasn’t fair, and because of that, he failed. But he stood right up and kept on going.


So I hope that as much as we love sports, let’s not lose perspective. Like Ray Lewis said in his speech after their gut wrenching loss, “This right here makes us stronger. Let's understand who we are as a team, let's understand who we are as men, and let's make somebody smile when we walk out of here. We got the opportunity to keep going, men. Let's be stronger as a team, men. Let's be who we are.” We all face different struggles, but even when you are having a tough day, you can go out and make someone smile. So work hard like there is no reward at the end, work hard like no one would notice, and keep having faith no matter the outcome. Because someone out there will be inspired and that should be enough to keep us going.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shut Up and Jam!




We've all experienced this before. From the playgrounds of recess to the local pick-up games at our gym, we've all come across THAT guy. You know who I'm talking about. The guy who plays angry and wears that disgusted look on his face. The guy who likes to play rough and turn everything into a wrestling match. The guy whom you hate to play against but wouldn't mind having on your team. Yup, THAT guy. But here's the funny thing - THAT guy is usually never the best player on the team. He might be the most feared but not for the same reasons.

Even in a professional league like the NBA, THAT guy still exists. You can find him by just taking a look at the leaders in technical fouls in the NBA season so far:
1. Kendrick Perkins - 11
2. Tyson Chandler - 9
3. Dwight Howard - 8
4. DeMarcus Cousins - 7
5. Russell Westbrook - 7
6. Kobe Bryant - 7
7. Rajon Rondo - 7
8. Amare Stoudemire - 6
9. Carmelo Anthony - 6
10. Stephen Jackson - 6

If you follow the NBA, you shouldn't be surprised by any of these names on this list. Most of the time, THAT guy becomes THAT guy to compensate for the lack of talent or athleticism or whatever other things they need to compensate for (zing!). But if this holds true, why are some superstars on this list? Dwight, Westbrook, Kobe, Rondo, Amare, and Melo. This is what I don't understand. If we can agree that Kobe is an anomaly and only look at the others, these other "superstars" have yet to live up to our expectations as fans. I understand the fact that every team needs an "enforcer", someone who's not "soft", a player who's not afraid to speak his mind, and a daunting presence for the opposition. But do the aforementioned players really need that element in their game?





Dwight Howard is the biggest kid on the block. But his image has been forever tainted by wearing 2 size too small jerseys and getting dunked on over by the smallest kid on the block, Nate Robinson. Please Dwight, do us a favor, stop whining and pouting. You are not an "enforcer" nor do you need to be. Outside of the shoulder pads that you wear under your skin, there is nothing tough about you. JUST SHUT UP AND JAM.


(mouseover picture for a scare)
Westbrook, where do I even begin with you? I know you're trying to be the enforcer but look up -- your boy, Kendrick "Frankenstein" Perkins, is already doing that. Next to Perkins, you're nothing more than a Eddie Munster. I know you can't change your gargoyle-like face and that sucks. But can you at least shut up like a gargoyle and jam?


Google these two searches "How to shoot a jump shot rondo" and "How to shoot a jump shot peter wang" and you'll come out to roughly the same amount of results. This is more an insult to me than Rondo but that's a topic for another time. Raging Rondo is never going to catch on so please give up this act. If your infamous teammate, KG, can do it, you can too (KG has 0 technical fouls so far this season). I would tell you to shut up and jam but you're not a dunker so I'll leave you with this, SHUT UP AND LEARN TO SHOOT.


(mouseover picture for the real duo)
And now finally, Amare and Melo or what I'd like to call, Bam Bam and Pebbles. On this top 10 list, 3 are from New York. I don't know if it's a requirement to be a Knick or not but someone please tell this 2012 NYK team that you don't need to be like the 1994 team. You are Carmelo Anthony, not Anthony Mason. Amare means "strong" if you're African. To the rest of the world, it means "love." It's too late to name-change (or is it?) but if you really want to the world to see you as "strong" then please do more than cuss at refs. I offer my condolences to you and your family and the loss of your brother. However, you felt ready to come back a week after the funeral so if you fail to show up in games, this is on you. No more excuses. You and Melo need to get the job done. If you don't know what you need to do, refer to Jeremy Lin here and here.
Shut up and jam!

Preamble


Let me make a confession: my blogging hymen is intact. It’s not to say that I have never flirted with the likes of Xanga and Blogspot, but those turned out to be mere flings of selfish indulgence coveting the elusive comment or eProp from the girl who made my heart thaw with her every typed letter and emoticon. I only admit this now because I have triumphed over this very girl and made her my wife. I digress. Before I step over into blogging adulthood, I’d like to thank Mr. Peter Wang for his act of solicitation and for paving the way for virgin bloggers like myself with riveting articles such as “What is a Sport?” which goes in depth into the controversial topic of what is a sport. But really, thanks for inviting me. Hopefully my ruminations will attract more visitors to the site (yes, that includes the perturbed people who google “hymen” and end up here). Stay tuned for my first post. 

The GCAST - Episode 2.5 - Oscars!

GCAST's 1st special guest! Join us for a laid-back discussion of Oscars!
- Oscar news!
- Oscars vs. Golden Globes
- Our panel gives their take on the individual categories
- Best Picture, Screenplays, and Directors!
- (Music in the podcast are all Oscar Nominees for best original score)
- Send your questions and comments to our mailbag at GCASTmail@gmail.com and get featured in our podcasts!


Podcasts are now STREAM ONLY. Due to demand, 500+ plays and 50+ downloads, our monthly bandwidth already ran out after the first week! Please contact any of our writers if you would like to donate to increase our bandwidth!
Subscribe to our blog to stay updated

*Mistakes:
Sean Penn beat out Brad Pitt for Best Actor in the 81st Academy Awards for his role in "Milk"
Daniel Day-Lewis won the year before which was the 2008 Oscars but for movies that came out in 2007.

Media links:
Welcome back, Billy!
Sasha Baron Cohen - The Dictator returns
Oscar Nominees
Rooney vs. Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Amanda Bynes Career - DONE

GCAST Predictions
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jonathan Lau - Kenneth Branagh
Caleb Li - Nick Nolte
Peter Wang - Christopher Plummer
Jonathan Mok - Max von Sydow


Actress in a Supporting Role:
Jonathan Mok, Peter Wang - Berenice Bejo
Jonathan Lau, Caleb Li - Octavia Spencer


Actor in a Leading Role:
Jonthan Lau, Peter Wang - Jean Dujardin
Jonathan Mok, Caleb Li - Brad Pitt

Actress in a Leading Role:
Peter Wang - Glenn Close
Jonathan Mok - Rooney Mara
Caleb Li - Meryl Streep
Jonthan Lau - *Michelle Williams


Writing (Adapted Screenplay):
Jonathan Mok, Peter Wang - Hugo
Jonthan Lau, Caleb Li - Moneyball


Writing (Original Screenplay):
Jonathan Mok, Jonthan Lau, Caleb Li - Midnight in Paris
Peter Wang - A Separation


Directing:
Peter Wang - The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius
Jonthan Lau, Caleb Li - Hugo - Martin Scorsese
Jonathan Mok - The Tree of Life - Terrence Malick


Best Picture:
Jonathan Lau, Peter Wang - The Artist
Caleb Li - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Jonathan Mok - The Tree of Life


Podcast fans vote!
Oscar - Best Picture

Who is the real JLau?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The GCAST - Episode 2 - NBA All Star Preview

The usual suspects discuss the hot topics this past week:
- Linsanity continues! How much is it a race issue? ESPN's drama.
- NBA All Star weekend events preview. The crew gives their ideas to make it better.
- Champ/Chump of the week
- Send your questions and comments to our mailbag at GCASTmail@gmail.com and get featured in our podcasts!



Download this episode!
Subscribe to our blog to stay updated

Media links:
Danny Chen story
ESPN's Max Bretos' goof
ESPN's official statement on racial slur
SNL Jeremy Lin skit
Kevin Hart vs. UCONN Women’s Team
Sprint Celebrity Game
Rising Star Challenge
D-League All-Star Game
Skills Challenge
Shooting Star
3-pt Shooting Contest
Dunk Contest
NBA All-Star Game
Gerald Green's fingers
Lionel Hollins' fingers

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Profiled: Race, Gender, and Age



On Friday night, ESPN mobile had a headline that offended many people. Frankly, it shocked me that a large company like ABC did not havethe proper checks to keep it from being broadcast over the Internet. It read, “Chink In The Armor,” referring to the Knicks loss to the Hornets. Sure, this could have been an innocent joke that came with no racially malicious intent, but it clearly was not thought through and showed how much race is still part of the Jeremy Lin insanity. Maybe we have been fooling ourselves with the clever puns and cute lines like “Crouching Tiger Hidden Point Guard.” When is it okay to make a joke, and when do you cross the line from funny to racist?

For the longest time, Asian Americans have been the “model minority.” We gained this title because we fall in line and follow the rules. We play in the system and don’t speak up or make a fuss about much. I am proud of how generations before my own have handled themselves and have made a better future for the generations that followed. But if we don’t stand up for ourselves, we can only blame ourselves when we are taken advantage of. Respect and rights are gained and usually not freely given. America gained our Bill of Rights through war; Martin Luther King Jr. gained equality through protest and active voices.

Last night in a Jeremy Lin interview special, he freely acknowledged that he felt he was overlooked because of his race, yet so many people try to pretend that it wasn’t the case. When was the last North California high school player of the year not given a D1 scholarship? My guess is none before or after Jeremy Lin. I am not here to condemn those who overlooked a man because he was Asian, but we need to realize that we do this everyday in so many ways. Americans are racist, myself included. As a diverse society, we have made efforts to give equal opportunities to all. Nevertheless, until we admit that we as a society are still struggling with racism, we will never make forward progress. Hollywood has made it an accepted behavior to profile. The Asian character is a number-cruncher, the black guy is athletic or loud and animated, and the girl is in need of saving. I am not saying it is wrong, but what takes place in movies is not the same as real life. It is not okay to say “those people,” “them,” or “they always.” Assumptions really do make an ass out of u and me.

Asian athletes are not the only people who face thesehurdles. African Americans have had to overcome barriers in every industry:music, business, politics, sports, and the list goes on. Even Caucasian Americansface challenges in places such as certain genres of music and positions insports. It is much more common than we want to admit.

Eminem - A great example of a man who overcame many race-based challenges to get where he is today. I am sure Eminem was told by many that he should quit. I am sure many record labels shied away from signing him because of his race. There were plenty of doubts of his marketability and popularity -- would people just see him as another “Vanilla Ice”?

Michael Vick - Sadly even today, people still question the idea of a black quarterback, which usually links with discussion of a dual-threat quarterback. I am guilty of not being a fan. I fear the risk of my team’s quarterback being injured. But when are we just going to admit that the success rate of a dual-threat quarterback is the same as a premier pocket-passing prospect out of college? We fear change and are still having a hard time going against what has historically worked.

President Obama- For the longest time, I believed that there would never be a non-white President. I am sure there were many people over the years in Obama’s career who doubted he would get to where he is. In the same way, I wonder what it will take before our nation treats female candidates the same way as their male counterparts.

Ken Chenualt - Another African-American and the CEO of American Express, which ironically serves a customer base comprised largely of 50+-year old Caucasian males. An unconventional choice based on the company’s target demographic, but it just goes to show that when you are able to look past what is historically the norm, you might find the man best-suited for the job.

J.K. Rowling - Although this is not an American example, it pains me to think that a publishing company would tell a woman to use her initials because the public would respond better if they did not know she was a female author. Most of us have mothers who are amazing storytellers, but clearly that was never enough evidence to change this sexist way of thinking.

Lance Armstrong – Told that he was too old to compete in the Tour De France even when he was still winning titles. Because of that narrow-minded belief, to this day people are still trying to prove that Lance took drugs and refuse to credit the long hours he spent alone on his bike.

So wake up America, let us not forget the things we want the world to believe about who we are. We are a country that treats everyone as individuals and views people with an open mind without preconceived judgments. This is what our nation is about. This is why I never want to leave this great country. Ask yourself if you are overlooking someone by his or her appearance, and maybe the answer to your needs are right there inside your own network sitting on that imaginary bench. Like the musical “Avenue Q” claims, “Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes.” The question is not if we are racist, sexist, or ageist, but rather, what are we going to do about it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The GCAST - Episode 1

Join us for the first official podcast of Gym Class All Stars blog! Mok, Caleb, and Pete dissect the Linsanity and discuss other questions in the sports world including the Mannings and Tiger Woods! Also this is our 100th post!


Download this episode!

Inside this episode:
THE LINSANITY!
Linsane Rookie Cards on Ebay!

Jeremy Lin's brand worth.

Pete's Tebow love affair

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Heart Exam - Jeremy Lin

Unleashed. Fearless. Hero. The Legend. The Enforcer. The One. Just a mere 10 days ago, you probably recognized these are famous Jet Li movie titles. Now, these are words synonymous with Jeremy Lin. If you're reading this blog, you care about sports. And if you care about sports, you know about the magical journey of Jeremy Lin. When I started this column, I was waiting for someone like JLin to come along -- someone whose heart is bigger than their game, someone whose heart speaks louder than their words. Jeremy Lin is all that and more.

Everyone identifies with Jeremy Lin in their own way. That's what makes this story so feel good. A winner, a baller, a Christian, an Asian-American, an underdog -- take your pick. But the one facet about JLin that ties all this together is his humble heart. Imagine if you will that if at every interview, Jeremy would say things like "I knew I was this good", "I hope I've proved all the doubters wrong", or "I don't think anyone can stop me." Would the sports world be so ready to jump on this bandwagon? But the fact is Jeremy is winning, Jeremy is surprising, and Jeremy is humble.

As a Christian, Asian-American myself (yes, Christian first), I identify with JLin and the way he lives his life. Christianity teaches to put others before yourself, to be a humble servant, and to do it all for the glory of our God. Every time I watch him play and hear him speak, I see all of that in Jeremy. Servant leadership is rarely seen in basketball because we all want that superstar to be a superstar. MJ, Kobe, Wilt, Shaq -- we want to see the superstars show their swag. When you dunk on a guy, go ahead and stare at him or point even. Block a shot? Wag that finger. Most talked about athlete in sports? Give yourself a tattoo of "Chosen One." In a sport where often times superstardom can overshadow the success of the team, Jeremy Lin is showing us and showing the NBA how he's pioneering a new road for others to follow. Like Floyd Mayweather, you can be quick to point to the fact that he's Asian and all of this is just a race issue -- and he's partly right. But if that's all you are taking away from this, then you're missing the big picture. Jeremy Lin has a heart of a champion. He has a heart of kid who knows his roots. He has a heart of a humble servant. So hats off to you JLin, because VaLINtine's 2012 will forever be remembered as the day you captivated all of our hearts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Guide: Buying the Perfect Sports Jersey

This post was inspired by an email I received from my friend Grace, which included the following excerpt of a conversation between her co-workers. (names have been changed)
Jane: So what color jersey should I get Mike?
John: Get the blue one. Well, will the blue one make his eyes pop? (John's not gay)
Jane: So I should get Manning?
John: No, Manning’s safe. That’s like saying “I don’t careabout you.”
Jane: So I should get Cruz?
Bill: Everyone has Cruz.
Jane: So Manningham’s a good choice?’
John: Yeah, get Manningham. Manningham’s a little special.
Jane: Are you sure he isn’t going to be traded next year?
Bill: You think he’s coming back?
John: Yeah, I do.
Jane: I’m going to google this.
Jane: So, Manningham won the Super Bowl for them this year?
John: No, he made this amazing catch.
Jane: So Bradshaw won the Super Bowl for them?
For decades, many men and even some women have been faced with one of the hardest challenges in life: buying the perfect jersey. Through this guide, I will discuss many of the key deciding factors, common mistakes, standards to stick with, and personal testimonies from my jersey buying experiences.

  1. Number one rule in buying the perfect jersey: Knowing your size. In the age of Internet shopping, many people end up with jerseys too large or too small. Nothing looks worse than a jersey that is too tight on your body, which only makes people think you gained tons of weight since the day you bought that jersey. The second worst thing is buying a jersey that is oversized, leaving people to wonder if you still have your baggy jeans to go with the 90’s look.
  2. Understand there are different levels of jersey qualities and it is different for every sport. For example, NBA jerseys come in three different qualities, levels and styles: Replica, Swingman, and Authentic. Each level is at a different price point, usually seeing the largest price hike from the 2nd to 3rd level. Authentic jerseys for all sports are commonly over $200, but it could be worth it to you if you want to get exactly what the pros are wearing. My personal advice is: if you are not a die-hard fan for that one specific player or do not plan on customizing a jersey with your own name on it, stick with the 2nd level. It is close enough to the real thing and in the long run, the price difference from the cheapest level won’t kill your wallet. Also, for the ladies, don’t forget sometimes the best size is a youth size jersey, which saves you money too, or jerseys made for women.
  3. Color matters. Choosing the right color can be tough at times. Usually there will be 2 to 3 options of the current team jersey: home, away, and sometimes alternate jersey. Before buying a jersey, make sure you understand the traditions of the team. For example, all good University of Texas fans know it is preferred that you wear burnt orange to the game, so before you go out and buy the away white jersey, you might want that burnt orange in your closet first. I believe for the most part, the non-white, non-alternate jersey is always the safe bet, unless you think the color is tacky or just does not go well with your complexion or eyes.
  4. Pick a player you love or get a blank jersey. Many times people give in to getting a jersey of a player they just kind of like because he is popular or the only player they are selling at the store. Over time, you will be the one wearing that jersey and representing whoever’s name is on it. A blank jersey will never go out of style as long as you don’t change allegiances, which is a cardinal sin in most societies anyway.
  5. Choose a player with longevity and memorable success. This is the hardest rule because of the way leagues are now with trades and free agency. Clearly, who would have thought they would be burning their Lebron jersey only a couple years after seeing him bring them to the Finals? I believe it is usually safe to choose a player that played a large role in winning a championship or one who has already spent their best years playing for your favorite team. Many times it is a huge risk to buy a jersey of a young player before they sign a long-term contract. For example, many people might have bought a Chris Paul jersey only to see him ask to be traded the first chance he had. You also don’t want to buy a jersey of a player who will be forgotten 10 years after they retire, or else you will be explaining who they are at every sporting event you wear that jersey to for the rest of your life.
  6. Only buy jerseys of your favorite team unless it’s your all time favorite player, and in that case, a national jersey if possible. After a player retires and time passes, people will just assume you are a fan of the team on the jersey you own. After hours spent explaining why you bought the jersey, you will end up feeling more comfortable burying the jersey at the back of your closet than dealing with confused and annoying acquaintances.
  7. Last and final rule: Only buy a jersey you plan on wearing. Jerseys are not cheap, even at the replica level you are looking at over $50, and unless you plan on getting it signed and framed, make sure the jersey is something you will wear out to games and sporting events. Do not feel pressured to need to have a jersey to prove your fan-hood. There are many other ways you can support your team. Because nothing is worse than an unused jersey.
These are the 7 rules that I stick to when purchasing a jersey. Too bad I didn’t read this years ago. In the past, I have violated every rule listed above. For example, I have a couple jerseys that are oversized and even worse, I have one jersey that is way too small that I have no choice but to hang it up as wall décor. In high school, I broke rules one and two in the same jersey purchase. I got a large Yao replica jersey that was obviously too big, and the cut of the replica was made for people with larger shoulders. It was not a good look for me. This jersey is buried deep in my closet somewhere or at least I think it is since I have not seen it in years. I am a victim of premature jersey buying, breaking rule 3 and buying a white Vince Young jersey before heading off the University of Texas. I wore it once to a game and ended up taking it off in favor of a burnt orange t-shirt. Rule 4 I broke many times, which explains jerseys like my Carmelo Anthony jersey that isn’t a Knick jersey but a Nuggets jersey. Granted, I bought it because it was only 25 dollars in 2007, but clearly I have no idea what to do with it now, although it is a nice jersey. This Carmelo jersey also breaks rules 5 and 6. For rule 5, only recently did I find myself stuck with a Jose Reyes jersey who just signed with the Marlins. Reyes never did enough for the Mets organization to be memorable to future generations, and now all I can do is hope some other Reyes becomes a Met and finds success and also wears the number 7. I have many jerseys that I do not wear anymore, but I can say I have never bought a jersey without planning on wearing it, so I guess I haven’t broken all my rules after all. Finally, sometimes you do everything right and still end up with a mistake; for me that mistake is my Brett Favre jersey in which I may never be able to wear again. But I hope one day he will be welcomed back to Green Bay like I mentioned in this past post (link).

My all time favorite jersey I own is my authentic personalized Green Bay Packer jersey, which ironically was a gift from a group of close friends. Maybe I need to stop buying jerseys…

Yes,I know Bart Starr is #15 but my friends didn't consider that.
Good luck everyone, buying a new jersey should not be taken lightly. Be patient and willing to pay for the right jersey, and just maybe, you will be able to get the perfect jersey for you.

P.S. I forgot to even mention my two Fernando Torres jerseys. Another case of my favorite player choosing to leave my favorite team for an arch rival… just my luck.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New York, it's been some week...

Sunday February 5th: Sunday night, the New York Football Giants capped off an improbable playoff run with a victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Eli Manning orchestrated another incredible 4th quarter drive with a beautiful sideline pass to Mario Manningham, which set up Ahmad Bradshaw's now infamous poop-down. Giants weren't the best team the entire season, but got hot in the playoffs. All things considered, the game was evenly matched, but the Giants executed their game plan better and got lucky with fumble recoveries and the fact that Gronkowski was slowed down by injury. I did not think we were going to pull it off (Caleb has the texts to prove it), but in the end, the Giants delivered New York their 4th Super Bowl title. Earlier that day, the New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers at Madison Square Garden, which I took as a good omen for New York that day. Little did I know I would enjoy the greatest sports week of my life.

Monday February 6th: Jeremy Lin's first career start and the beginning of Linsanity. Caleb has written articles here, here, and here about the kid, so there's not much left for me to say. He single-handedly brought a stagnant Knicks team back from the brinks of utter collapse, when both Carmelo and Amare were out of the lineup, and delivered a much needed win. On top of that, Lin has truly done something miraculous. He has made my wife care about sports (Between Lin and the Giants' playoff run, she came into sports at exactly the right time!). She's watching post-game interviews, Sportscenter, you name it, anything she can about Jeremy Lin. I'm scared.

Tuesday February 7th: I took a half day from work to go to the Giants parade in the Canyon of Heroes. I went four years ago when the Giants last won the title and didn't think the crowd was that big, but this year, it really felt like a million people came out to celebrate this victory. It was great to see all of our players and know that we have a bright future ahead with Manning, Nicks, Cruz, Tuck, and Pierre-Paul. Truly a joyous occasion for me that justified the emotional roller coaster that I've been on with the Giants this year.


Wednesday February 8th: Lin's incredible play continued as he matched up against John Wall in the nation's capital. He put up 23 and 10 along with his first dunk and the Lin-gend continues...

Thursday February 9th: The New York Rangers won an overtime battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a diving goal by Brad Richards and firmly entrench themselves as the top team in the Eastern Conference. Not sure if we have many hockey fans that peruse our site, but the Rangers have been playing unbelievable hockey this year and are looking more and more like a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. Everyone has been waiting for the Rangers to fall apart, but they constantly find ways to pull out victories The last time they were this good this late into the season was in 1994, when they won the Stanley Cup.


Friday February 10th: Many pundits and 'perts were questioning whether or not Jeremy Lin was for real because his current body of work has been done against three juggernauts: the Nets, Jazz, and Wizards. Well, Friday brought the Los Angeles Lakers to the Garden and Jeremy Lin did not disappoint. Kobe was asked before the game if he knew about Jeremy Lin and frankly, Bryant said he didn't really know anything about him. Well, I think after the game, Kobe knew exactly who Jeremy Lin was since he dropped 38 points and 7 assists. The Knicks never relinquished the lead and brought an incredible win to New York City that resounded around the world. Jeremy Lin has officially arrived and for New York Knicks fans, it's the exact kind of hope that we've waited over a decade for.

Saturday February 11th: The Rangers played the Flyers again, but this time in Philadelphia. Once again, the Rangers took care of business and team captain, Ryan Callahan, scored a hat trick. We've beaten our bitter rivals all five times we've faced them this season and clearly have their number this year. For those of you who know me, I went to college in Philadelphia and absolutely despise all things Philly sports related, so nothing makes me happier than seeing the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers, Union, Soul lose. It's gotten so bad for the Flyers when they play the Rangers that NY fans have been chanting, "You Can't Beat Us". The Knicks, after the emotional win over the Lakers in NYC, traveled to Minnesota to take on Kevin Love and the Minnesota Muskies (Timberwolves, but they wore Muskies jerseys to pay tribute to their ABA roots). It was an ugly game, both teams looked tired, but Lin and the Knicks pulled out a gutsy victory that was more heart than skill. It was a great win to cap off an amazing sports week. It reminds me why I watch sports and pour so much of myself into the teams I support. I haven't had this much hope in the Knicks and Rangers since I was 12 years old. I can't wait to see what happens.




Modern Day Prophets: Timothy Tebow and Jeremy Lin



As Linsanity and Tebowmania have swept through the nation in only a few short months, many people have made the quick comparison between the two popular athletes. Of course, there are a lot of obvious similarities. Both have surprised many with their play at the professional level, faced adversity, worked tremendously hard, and showed their strong faith in Jesus Christ. There was always an enthusiastic following for both during their college years, and now it is almost impossible not to see phrases like “Linning” and “Tebowing” all over the internet. I explained my inner conflict of rooting for Tim Tebow a couple months ago, as well as my love for Jeremy Lin (post 1) (post2). What grabs the world’s attention is their ability not only to persevere when people don’t believe they can, but to excel under those doubts.

The commonality that I want to talk about today is the off the field impact they have when it comes to their faith. Many people have taken a stance on how they feel about Tim Tebow and how they feel Jeremy Lin should carry himself. I agree that Jeremy Lin does not need to be Tim Tebow, but I want to respectfully disagree that Jeremy Lin should not try to be another Tim Tebow. In my post about Tebow, I expressed my personal fear to be vocal and open about my faith. I believe many Christians in the United States would agree. When writing this, I feel the need to say that I don’t mean to offend anyone, but this is a country of free speech and I hope people can at least respect that this is just my personal opinion.

Tim Tebow has never been afraid to praise God, never afraid to sing worship songs on the sidelines, and never afraid to stand up for his faith. The world is waiting for Tebow to fail in any way, as a football player, as a quarterback, or as a person, that would make him a hypocrite. What amazes me about Tebow is that he has proven that he can walk the walk. Just when you think this man is too good to be true, you read a story about how he invites people with severe health issues to be his special guest to every game. He has shown to be a gracious winner but also a gracious loser. He does not let his mood affect how he spends time with his special guests or how he handles his postgame interviews. The biggest thing that I can never get out of my mind after watching clips of Tebow is how much joy he has before and after the game and how much passion he has in everything he does.

Tim Tebow has kicked down the door that many famous Christian athletes before him were afraid to cross. Giving thanks to God after winning a championship is common, but for many, God and Jesus Christ do not belong in every single post-game and pre-game interview. Tebow has taken that risk and it has made him the most polarizing character in sports. Tebow isn’t afraid of people’s hate because Jesus proclaimed that if we follow Him, many will hate us. Tebow isn’t afraid of people’s criticism and instead responds with grace and humility.

Jeremy Lin has shown potential to be the same way. Although he may not face the same kind of challenges as Tebow and does not yet have the same expectations, Lin carries a different burden; he carries the weight of a people group, the Asian American nation. Because of this burden, I think it is even more important for him to take a vocal and active role as a representative of Jesus. Lin has already shown that he is unafraid to praise God and shares about his desire to eventually go into full-time ministry. Like Tebow’s joy, the biggest thing that truly impresses me about Jeremy Lin is his humility. In an interview with a ChristianTV station in Taiwan, he shared about how the past year was one of the hardest years of his life. He shared how he was disappointed at not being drafted and disheartened by the lack of playing time he received. But he talked about how Romans 5:3-5 helped him through everything.

Romans 5:3-5 talks about overcoming suffering, which leads to perseverance that builds character and gives us hope. Lin has faced a lot of adversity over the years: being overlooked after high school, dealing with racism in college, being overlooked after college, being sent to the D League multiple times, being waived by two teams in one off-season, the list goes on. Even in the press conference after the Lakers game, you could feel the emotion in his voice when reflecting on the past year. God’s message is not that life will always be easy when following him. Instead, it will be a life of ups and downs, but what we are working for will be worth it in the end.

Reflecting on the Bible, we know that God loves to use people who are under the radar, humble, and meek. God believes in using the weak to shame the strong. In the Bible, the characters Timothy and Jeremiah played key roles in sharing God’s message. Timothy was a young man who mustered courage to teach a generation who looked down at him for his young age. Jeremiah was hated by a nation for spreading an unpopular message that the Jewish people did not want to hear. Many times in the Bible, God chooses the Jeremy Lins of the world instead of the Lebrons to carry out his message. God has given both Lin and Tebow the opportunity to partner with him in his mission to proclaim the gospel. Maybe it’s a case of “Angels in the Outfield” or maybe it is just their God given talent and dedication. All I know is that both Tebow and Lin have shocked the entire sports world, doing the unexpected and leaving viewers in disbelief and delight. In a world that worships their favorite athletes, both Tebow and Lin are more concerned about praising God and their teammates. It amazes me how much time Lin takes to point out the things his teammates like Landry Fields, Tyson Chandler, and Jared Jefferies did well that night. They take the glory that belongs to them and reflect it up to God and their team.

Jeremy Lin does not need to be Tebow, and it would be hard for anyone to live out the testimony Tebow has lived out in the last 6 years. Nevertheless, I would hope that Jeremy Lin will take on the challenge to be outspoken in his own way. Asian Americans have done the quiet and humble thing well for decades now. We have gone about our own business and shown kindness and humility. What we need now is an Asian American who isn’t afraid to speak up and tell the world what he stands for. God challenges all Christians to take their light and put it out for all to see. The door is wide open and I hope Jeremy Lin can walk through, continuing the work Tebow started and rallying the rest of us who claim to be followers of Christ to follow their lead. Not only can Jeremy Lin help break a long standing stereotype that Asian Americans are un-athletic, but also the reputation that we are passive aggressive and unwilling to voice our beliefs. I hope that Asian Americans can gain courage and confidence from what Jeremy Lin has already accomplished. And I guess I am hoping that not only can Jeremy Lin walk the walk but also talk the talk. Because his message is exactly what our world and society needs to hear.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Great Asian American Hope: Jeremy Lin

By Caleb Li

In reaction to reading this article (see link). Disclaimer: I do make generalizations throughout this post.



About 30 years ago, Larry Bird was given the title "The Great White Hope" at a time when African American players began to dominate the game at the pro level. This wasn't a title Larry Bird asked for or wanted, but the NBA was pulling some of their lowest ratings, and the average white American was looking for a hero.

As an Asian American male, finding players that we relate with are far and few in between. Even pooling all pro athletes of East Asian descendant into a large group including mixed raced athletes, the list is quite short. As a group of men, we have spent years letting the world know Hines Ward is half Korean and Patrick Chung's grandpa is Chinese. We have put our hopes in Michael Chang as the last real Asian American athlete to win an major event. We tell tales of Timmy Chang, a quarterback who for a while held the record for the most passing yards in a Division 1 career. Unfortunately, no one saw or cared about him because he played for the University of Hawaii.

I still remember the day I heard that a Chinese player was predicted to go first overall in the NBA draft. I was filled with an odd excitement and didn't care that I had never been to China and the only thing I had in common with him was the fact we had black hair and my last name also had one syllable. Not only was he Chinese, but the rest of the world thought he was going to be good. There was something both exciting and embarrassing watching Yao Ming in his first few games, but I will never forget the way Yao played against Shaq right after Shaq made some lighthearted jokes about Yao Ming's nationality. I remember being teased for the oversized Yao Ming jersey I wore to school the day of a big Rockets game. Honestly, I thought I would grow into it, but who knew that I wasn't going to be over 6 feet tall like my older brother. Yao Ming was successful, but he didn't realistically change any of the common beliefs that Asians could make it in the NBA. I am not here to undermine what Yao did for the game and for China, but he didn't alter the stereotype of most Asians as short, not athletic, and lacking of the physical tools to make it in the NBA. Yao was a freak of nature, a rare yet amazing creation of genetic make up.

Stereotypes always stem from some kind of fact or experience, and it is no different when it comes to race. The problem is that our society has trouble changing these identities that were not only created decades ago, but most likely were generalizations made by another group of people that had very little interaction with that race. One of the most famous stereotypes that has been documented in Hollywood is "White Men Can't Jump." Ironically, the white majority is still facing many barriers today. In the same way Larry Bird was crowned the great white hope, ESPN analysts are looking to crown the next great white American and have even led the media to create buzz on Kevin Love. Many African American athletes active and retired have said on national TV that their eyes light up when they see a white man guarding them. Rarely do we see white athletes in positions like running back or deep threat receiver. Instead, they have filled the role of slot receiver and tight end. In the same way, we still rarely see a black quarterback. Jordy Nelson said it best when he claimed being white helps him as a wide receiver because the league underestimates his speed and athletic ability. Yet in the same interview, he did not deny that he feels a little more confident when the defensive back looking across the line of scrimmage is white.

Asian men have been buried under unflattering stereotypes for decades and have willingly conformed for the most part. We tend to go about our business, succeeding in ways society expects us to. Lucky for us, these so called stereotypes seem to fit the new economic climate. The most attractive jobs in this bad economy are in computer programming and finance, both industries that Asian males seem to thrive in. We have a growing influence in the workplace and in the fast paced tech world that is now shaping American culture. There are more and more Asian artists on YouTube and succeeding in ways our immigrant parents believed to be impossible. For a long time, it has been common for Asian women to date men outside of the Asian race. Sometimes Asian men joke about it, other times they are secretly frustrated. Yet rarely growing up did we meet many Asian men married to white women. I admit that I tend to assume a mixed child has an Asian mom. Of course this is not always true, but I think it is safe to say that they are in the majority. Asian men have carried a chip on their shoulders for years, feeling like Hollywood only casts Asian males in a nerdy or weird light (e.g. The Hangover) and it's the reason sketches like "Yellow Fever" by WongFu Productions appear on YouTube. But, I believe times are changing and Asian men are becoming more vocal and confident in different aspects of life. Although it may take some time before we see an Asian American male mainstream musician or lead actor in a Hollywood drama, we have seen many Asian men begin to find success in business and politics.

Jeremy Lin may be just a regular basketball player if he were Caucasian, or at most a feel good story of an underdog like a Danny Woodhead. Instead, Lin has become a cultural sensation since his junior year in 2009. For us, he was an inspiration for simply performing highly at the Division 1 college level against top schools like the University of Connecticut and Boston College. Yet through hard work, dedication, and strong faith in God, he has found his way into the NBA and has shown the ability to succeed at the highest level of basketball in the world. Jeremy Lin is 6'3" and although in the NBA that is well below the average, it is safe to say most Asian men will not reach that height and most will never be able to dunk. Nevertheless, I hope that Jeremy Lin will find longevity in this league so that for the next two decades, Asian American children can imitate a Jeremy Lin crossover at the playground and have the belief that they too can make it to the NBA. Lin didn't choose to have this title nor does he owe it to us to carry this burden. But from what I see, he is up for the challenge and he won't let the pressure or the doubters keep him from moving forward. In an interview after his game with Utah, (Game Recap) Lin spoke of how difficult the past year had been, yet we all know he kept with it and kept working hard. Jeremy Lin's style of play can be admired and imitated by kids around the United States and maybe one day, we will have more and more Asian Americans finding opportunities in professional sports. Finally, we have an example to keep us from limiting our dreams. Jeremy Lin, you are the "Great Asian American Hope" and I want to thank you.