There are two people we are completely enamored with. Coincidentally, they are both sports figures.
Local guy Rich Cho has been named the Portland Trail Blazers new general manager. Also, Jeremy Lin is signing with the Golden State Warriors.
What is notable is that the few Asian pro basketball players are mostly Asians from Asia, not the United States. Lin will be following the likes of Wataru Misaka (who played three games in 1947–1948) as one of the rare full-blooded American-born Asians in the NBA.
In reading news coverage about Cho and Lin, two traits these men share struck us. In realizing their dreams, both were extremely patient and hardworking. They weren’t the flashiest people or superstars in the limelight.
Instead, they quietly toiled away at their craft, honing it and believing that they could achieve greatness.
There is no doubt that they had to be patient and hardworking, as they were both aiming to break through the glass ceiling in a sport that hasn’t seen many Asians.
NBA fans aren’t used to seeing Asian Americans on the team or in management — some fans have not been positive about the idea, as Lin previously stated in an interview with us. Both Cho and Lin have had to overcome prejudices in addition to refining their game or working at their career.
Cho had inauspicious beginnings. He was born in Burma during a period of political unrest; he immigrated to the United States as a child in 1968. Cho’s family didn’t have anything, he told The Columbian on July 21.
The family was on welfare, and his father worked the graveyard shift at a 7-11 for 20 years, supporting his family. Cho also worked various odd jobs when he was young to help the family.
Fast-forward to decades later — after he’s earned a university degree, worked as an engineer, earned a law degree, and found a place with the Seattle SuperSonics — and his journey has finally culminated with him becoming the first Asian American general manager of an NBA team.
Lin has an underdog story of his own.
He is the guy who was continually overlooked — but he never gave up. Though a star athlete on his high school team in Palo Alto, Calif., he surprisingly didn’t receive a sports scholarship from any Division I college. He opted to attend Harvard, where he shined on the court. Lin was a good bet for the NBA draft this year, but fans were shocked when the draft came and his name was not called.
But through it all, Lin never stopped working at his dream. After the disappointment of not getting drafted, he joined Dallas for a mini-camp, and there was talk of him joining a summer league or playing overseas.
So we’re ecstatic that Lin caught a break and will finally play on an NBA team.
With people like Cho and Lin achieving their dreams, the rest of us don’t have an excuse for not achieving ours. It’s easy to say, “We can’t do it because it’s never been done before,” and to give up. But as Lin and Cho have taught us, we should change our attitude and instead say, “We can do it! Even if it’s never been done before!” ♦