Jeremy Lin: Yeah. I mean, it is just-- I mean, it's just-- it's a stereotype.
Stereotypes are nothing new for Lin. Growing up, he was often the only Asian player on his teams, and frequently heard racial slurs from opponents on the court.
Charlie Rose: What would they say? What kind of things would--
Jeremy Lin: Pretty much anything you could think of from stereotypical, you know, Asian food, you know making fun of my complexion, my skin color, or, you know, the way Asians look, pretty much everything.
Lin believes that if he were black or white he would have had multiple scholarship offers, including one from his hometown's Stanford University. But Stanford's offer was for a walk-on opportunity -- while Harvard, like all Ivy League schools, could not offer a sports scholarship. It did offer a place on the team.
Charlie Rose: Were you happy that he went to Harvard?
Shirley Lin: Oh, we love it.
Charlie Rose: So better there than go to a big basketball school?
Shirley Lin: Yeah, I think so.
Charlie Rose: How about him, though? But-- 'cause he loved basketball.
Gie-Ming Lin: Harvard offer him to be on the team. So I think that would be a good choice. Other than that, Harvard was a better academic than Stanford.
Charlie Rose: Yeah, and then. They're both pretty good.
Gie-Ming Lin: Both pretty good, yes.
But even in ivy-covered Cambridge, some things hadn't changed... they'd even gotten worse.
Shirley Lin: You know, college environment usually very hostile. So he got a lot of name calling, things like that, during the game.
Charlie Rose: Bad names?
Shirley Lin: Bad names, like racist, I think the first you heard it, it make you uncomfortable. It's like-- "Wow, you know, where does that come from?" But then later on he got more, you know, mature.
Jeremy Lin: I mean there are times when people say stuff and I just laugh, you know? All I do is laugh and move on and just not say anything-- and just forget about it. It made me a stronger person.
Charlie Rose: It didn't get you down?
Jeremy Lin: It did. But now-- now it's-- it doesn't really bother me anymore.
What did bother him was that after leading the Harvard team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, not one NBA team drafted him.
Charlie Rose: Do you think there was ever any discrimination against him because he was an Asian American?
David Stern: I think in the rawest sense the answer to that is yes. In terms of looking at somebody who comes out of-- I don't know whether he was discriminated against because he was at Harvard.
Charlie Rose: Yes.
David Stern: Or because he was Asian.
Charlie Rose: In other words, there's a kind of prejudgment about him. That he can't be that good because he didn't--
David Stern: Correct.
Charlie Rose: --he doesn't have the same background as others.
David Stern: Correct.
In Houston, the Rockets and their fans have embraced Jeremy Lin. He has settled in as an above-average NBA guard and the face of his franchise -- complete with endorsement deals for sneakers and Swedish sedans. He's even made a documentary about himself.
And on the Rockets' first trip to New York earlier this season, Knicks fans showed their appreciation for his brief moment in the stratosphere.