Looking For Lin In All The Wrong Places By Frank Deford NPR
*1992 movie “White Men Can’t Jump”
Jeremy Lin was lucky, unforeseen circumstances made it so that he was called in to play a game…and play he did! But what if he never got that opportunity to play? We would have missed a terrific “Linsanity “ basketball star. In this article Frank Deford explores the problem of talented people who are being overlooked because of stereotyping. Excerpt:
“By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis’ story of Moneyball — best-selling book or Oscar-nominated film — about the poor little franchise in Oakland that learned how to compete against the big-city rich teams by discovering overlooked players…The villains in Moneyball are not the fat-cat franchises, but the copycat scouts who are all on the same page, addicted to the same physical ingredients that make up their model prospect. It is the truly courageous judge of young talent — in any sport — who dares predict success for a player because of qualities that can’t be quantified…And the fact is that nobody — nobody in basketball — had the perception or the guts to say: You know, I don’t care what anybody else thinks, this kid Jeremy Lin has it. Whatever it is…t’s not like he was tucked away in Bulgaria. Lin was hidden in plain sight. He led his high school at Palo Alto to the California championship…Now it’s wonderful for Jeremy Lin that he finally got his chance. It’s wonderful for fans that we got a lovely surprise. It’s wonderful for Asian-Americans that they’ve got a new athletic hero. It’s even wonderful for the Knicks, who don’t deserve it, because their owner is the biggest creep in professional sports…But what is so disappointing is that Lin finally was given his opportunity only because about a half-dozen weird happenstances happened to occur…” Read the entire article by Frank Deford.
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post
Level: Intermediate -Advanced
reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: approximately 2 hours.
Materials: student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.
Objective: Students will examine the methods used by recruiters to find new sports talent. Students will practice reading, speaking, writing and listening skills
I. Pre-Reading Tasks
1. Analyze headings and photos.
Directions: Have students read the title of the post, and the title of the article. Next have them analyze the photos to see if they can predict what information the article will discuss. Then based on this information, direct students to make a list of ideas, words and phrases they might find in this article.
B. Stimulating Background Knowledge
1. Pre-reading Discussion Questions
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions regarding sports figures in their countries.
How are sports players discovered in your country? For example, are they discovered by accident, or do recruiters go to colleges, and high schools to find the best players?
Are there special qualifications recruiters look for in players? For example, what makes a person a good Soccer player? Answer the same for Basketball, Baseball players.
Does a person’s ethnicity play a role in how well or how poorly they may do in a particular sport?
How are the best players treated, are they revered by many, and paid large sums of money? Are they allowed special privileges?
2. Graphic Organizers
Directions: Have students use a KWL to help organize their ideas.
II. While Reading Tasks
1. Word Inference
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold (taken from the article) and use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance.
- By now, most everybody knows Michael Lewis’ story of Moneyball… about the poor little franchise in Oakland…
- The maestro of this policy, Billy Beane, is an endearing character…
- …he was right, but it was like rooting for a guy at the blackjack tables who counts cards.
- The villains in Moneyball are not the fat-cat franchises, but the copycat scouts…
- …who are all… addicted to the same physical ingredients that make up their model prospect.
- It is the truly courageous judge of young talent — in any sport — who dares predict success for a player…
- And the fact is that… nobody in basketball — had the perception or the guts to say: ..this kid Jeremy Lin has it.
- None of the people paid to envision, could envision.
- It’s just the usual common stupidity of stereotyping.
- …because their owner is the biggest creep in professional sports.
- Lin finally was given his opportunity…because about a half-dozen weird happenstances happened to occur
- Talk about divine intervention.
- But, in counterpoint, what is so dispiriting is to contemplate not only how many basketball players, but how many other athletes…never get fulfilled…
B. Reading Comprehension True / False
Directions: If the statement is true, students write (T) if the statement is false they write (F) and provide the correct answer from the article.
- Moneyball is a new basketball game.
- …about the poor little franchise in Los Angeles that learned how to compete against the big-city rich teams by discovering overlooked players.
- The villains in Moneyball are scouts.
- When it came to Jeremy Lin, people saw his talent immediately.
- Lin led his high school at Palo Alto to the California championship.
- According to this article, basketball people are prejudiced against Asian-Americans.
- Asian-Americans now have a new athletic hero.
- The Knicks are still losing games.
- Jeremy Lin was given his opportunity to play because people believed in him first.
- Unfortunately, there are many creative talents that go undiscovered because experts don’t look in the right places.
A. Reading Comprehension Check
1. KWL chart- Have students fill in the last column of this chart.
2. Have students fill in a topic chart for the article.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
Have students discuss the following:
- In the article Frank states” It’s not like he was tucked away in Bulgaria. Lin was hidden in plain sight. He led his high school at Palo Alto to the California championship… he was on display for four years in Division 1…” Explain what he means by this statement.
- He continues, “…It wasn’t just a matter of race. Scouts tend to be uncomfortable with anything different.” Do you agree or disagree with this idea. What are some things that scouts might be uncomfortable with?
- The statement, “Jeremy Lin is a success… but his example tells us that there are, surely, so many more brilliant might-have-beens in our midst who never get a chance.” Explain what “might-have-beens” means.
Directions: Students are to choose one of the following to write an essay.
- Write an essay in which you describe the best method to use for choosing the best athletes to play in any sport.
- Write an essay in which you describe a sport that you actually play, or would like to play. If you play for example Soccer, how were you chosen for the team?
- Write an essay where you describe Jeremy Lin. Include information such as, where is his family originally from, at what age did he begin playing basketball, did his parents want him to play this game? Does he have siblings? Do any of them play basketball?
IV. Listening Activity
Title of Video Clip: Jeremy Lin, The buzz from Asian Americans, NBC Bay Area News
“The NBC Bay Area News coverage on Jeremy Lin.
Creating inspiration in the Asian American community.
Interviews from Jeremy Lin, his high school coach Peter Diepenbrock.”
Story by George Kiriyama-
A. Pre-listening Tasks
1. Listening for New Vocabulary or Listening for New Terms
Directions: Based on the title of the video, students are to make a list of words and phrases that they think they’ll hear during the video. As students listen, they are to check off the words and phrases predicted by their group.
B. While Listening Tasks
1. True / False statements
Directions: Students listen to the video and if a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is false mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Jeremy Lin is originally from Palo Alto
- At the time of this interview, Lin had signed on with the Bulls.
- During high school Lin was adored as an athlete.
- Lin doesn’t think about being Asian-American on the court but about playing the game.
- Asian-American websites were excited when they first heard about Lin.
- Lin doesn’t have time to acknowledge the support from the Asian community.
- Little kids look up to Jeremy Lin as a role-model.
- Bryce Ogata is a colleague.
- Many articles on the Asian-American websites feel Lin was overlooked by teams from the NBA because of his Asian background.
- Lin doesn’t agree with this, and his focus is on getting better at his game.
- Peter Diepenbrock coached Lin at Palo Alto college.
- Peter feels that Lin is a humble, and down to earth guy.
- Jeremy Lin will be the third Asian-American to play at the NBA level.
C. Post-Listening Tasks
Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups after the video and have them answer the following questions.
1. In your opinion, why did the NBA over-look Jeremy Lin in the beginning?
2. After listening to this discussion, how would you describe Jeremy Lin?
3. If you had the opportunity, what questions would you ask Jeremy Lin?
Please come back again.