Breaking Stereotypes: “38 At The Garden”

By Angely Xiong

“38 At The Garden” is a 2022 HBO documentary short that discusses the 2011-12 NBA season and its star, Jeremy Lin. Lin is an Asian American basketball player who formerly played for the National Basketball Association (NBA) and is now a player for the Chinese Basketball Association.

The documentary includes testimonies from several Asian American celebrities including Hasan Minhaj, Jenny Yang, Ronny Chieng, and Lisa Ling. The short film is about the story of Jeremy Lin scoring 38 points at Madison Square Garden while playing for the New York Knicks in 2012. This prompted a trending cultural campaign known as Linsanity. It brought Americans together from all sorts of ethnicities and backgrounds. Seeing an Asian American basketball player even get to the NBA was a rare feat, but to see him dominate a season of the NBA sparked inspiration for hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans in the United States and around the world.

The film also discusses how Asian American prejudice has continued today with a rise during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Anti-Asian hate crimes rose 339% in 2020 (NBC News.) In a time where Asian American prejudice is so prevalent, it is important to remember cultural moments and times in American history and media.

Jeremy Lin’s career and story is a breakthrough of generational stereotypes and barriers on Asian Americans. Most of this relates back to the Model Minority myth and the American Dream many Asian immigrants have when immigrating to the United States.

The American Dream is the idea that all Americans have an “equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.” (Oxford Dictionary). For many Asian Americans, especially first generation Americans and immigrants, this means graduating university and pursuing a career to become a doctor or engineer. This ideal for many Asian American children is pushed through generations. However, Lin’s career has shown the opposite of this.

Asian Americans are underrepresented in many careers and fields, especially public fields such as sports, journalism, film, and media. We should encourage the next generation of Asian American children to not be afraid to pursue their interests, whether that is science or basketball.

38 At The Garden” is a well-made and eye-opening documentary short (only 38 minutes).

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