Jeremy Lin Had a Counterpart in France Long Before Tebow

February 11th, 2012 by Sean S. O'Neil Leave a reply »
For an illuminating cross-sport comparison with Jeremy Lin, you need to bypass all that Tebowing on the gridiron and head back to a dusty swirl of French clay, where an Asian-American teenager has just shocked the tennis world.

It is 1989, and 17-year-old Michael Chang is holding a microphone, about to speak in English to thousands of French-speaking fans who are so enamored with this sudden star that he would be able to keep their attention even if he just spoke in tongues. 

That throng of supporters probably would have thought he was just a ball boy had they seen him first enter the Parisian tennis facilities of Roland Garros. They knew who he was now. 

He had just won the French Open, one of the four biggest tournaments in professional tennis. And he had done so in delightfully improbable fashion.

As an Asian-American on such a grand tennis stage, Michael Chang was a conspicuous presence in a sport that was generally as white as the clothes they wore at Wimbledon.  

Now standing before thousands of French-speakers, he stood out for his excellent play, not his race. He began to testify, “First, I wan ...

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