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As 'Linsanity' grips basketball fans, how big of a factor is race?

The rapid rise of New York Knicks basketball star Jeremy Lin has been a source of explosive pride for Asian Americans. And perhaps not surprisingly, the Los Angeles-born, Palo Alto-raised Harvard grad's success has also prompted its share of racially divisive cracks.

What role does race play in the furor that's been dubbed "Linsanity?" San Francisco sports anchor Rick Quan writes about it eloquently for CNN International, pointing out some of the reasons why Lin's background - which includes his race, but more than that - matters:

Is Lin getting this much attention only because he's Asian? Absolutely not. Does race play into the equation? Absolutely.

Lin is the first Chinese-American to not just get on the court but make a major impact in the NBA. That is huge. No one since the NBA-ABA merger during the 1976-77 season has scored at least 20 points and seven assists in his first five starts. Nobody. Almost single-handedly, Lin has given new life to the once proud New York Knicks franchise.

Yes, there have been other Asians and Asian-Americans who played in the league, but most were of mixed race (Rex Walters, Raymond Townsend, Wat Misaka). We had the star Yao Ming for a while, but he was from China.

Lin is from California. He went to Harvard. He can even dance the Dougie. There is a difference. Not all Asians are alike.

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