PIEDMONT -- The Bay Area's Jeremy Lin shook up professional basketball when he catapulted on the national scene in 2012 during a record-setting stint on the New York Knicks.

"Naturally, everyone loves a winner, but Jeremy was very much the underdog when he started in the big leagues of the NBA," said Angela Hom, a member of the Piedmont Asian American Club. "A coach remarked about how Jeremy didn't fit the basketball mold. He was playing a professional sport where there really wasn't a breakout Asian-American basketball athlete."

The club joins the Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Film Series Committee in offering two free screenings next week of "Linsanity," the 2013 documentary that follows the 6-foot-3 Palo Alto High School graduate's ascendance into the NBA after playing for Harvard University.

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (30) left, tries to make a layup as Houston Rockets’ Jeremy Lin (7) tries to block in the first half of their
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry (30) left, tries to make a layup as Houston Rockets' Jeremy Lin (7) tries to block in the first half of their basketball game held at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

The movie will play March 19 at the Ellen Driscoll Theater in Piedmont and March 22 at the New Parkway theater in Oakland.

The 25-year-old son of Taiwanese immigrants and former Golden State Warrior is the first American of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to play in the NBA. After his attention-getting season with the Knicks, he signed a three-year contract with the Houston Rockets.

"The amazing thing about the film is how it makes you question the stereotypes of Asians as being nerds or passive, or people who study hard and are good at math but are not good at sports," said Julie Chang, a member of the film committee. "Jeremy Lin had to fight upstream against negative stereotypes and racist comments about his ability to excel at basketball. This was in college basketball and after he graduated from college."


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The film by Chinese-American director Evan Leong also explores the role Christianity plays in Lin's life.

"This is a hot topic and one that I hope is brought up," Chang said about the post-film discussion.

Hom said the film should appeal to viewers even if they are not basketball fans.

"Simply put, it's about Jeremy Lin's passion for his sport and his ability to overcome adversity, whether being sent down to the D-League after playing a few games in the NBA or being taunted on court for being Asian-American," Hom said. "Pardon the pun, but he bounced back."

IF YOU GO
What: Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Film Series Committee's showing of "Linsanity"
First showing: March 19 -- 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. screening and 8:30 p.m. discussion, Ellen Driscoll Theater, 325 Highland Ave., Piedmont
Second showing: March 22 -- 3 p.m. screening and discussion, The New Parkway, 474 24th St., Oakland
Cost: Free
Details: www.diversityfilmworks.org or www.linsanitythemovie.com