Friday, July 23, 2010

Here is a list of all Asian Americans ever to play in the NBA

I've seen many different things written, but here's what I believe to be the list of the Asian Americans/Part Asian Americans to play in the NBA:

1947 -1948 Wataru Misaka (Mom and Dad are Japanese) - Called the BAA not NBA at the time
1978-1982 Raymond Townsend (Mom is Filipino)
1988-1995 Corey Gaines (I believe his Mom is Japanese)
1993-2000 Rex Walters (Mom is Japanese)
2004-2009 Robert Swift (Dad is 1/2 Okinawan)
2010- Jeremy Lin (Mom and Dad are Chinese/Taiwanese)

Please add to or correct the list if I'm mistaken.


  1. This site is a great idea-keep up the great work!

    I can't think of anyone to add. To be honest I hadn't even thought of all the names you brainstormed. Jeremy Lin's parents are both Taiwanese he's not half and half or anything like that, and they can just be listed as Taiwanese-not sure what the /Chinese is for.

    1. According to news sources, Jeremy Lin's mother is korean-chinese. She is from the small ethnic Korean community in China....

  2. neverming lol i just read the "asian american" part.

    great job on this website though!

  3. yao ming? yuta tabuse, wang zhizhi... i think there's a few more too.

  4. Taiwanese are ethnically Chinese. Similarly, a player whose parents are from South Korea or North Korea would just be described as Korean.

  5. In response to anonymous above, first, I would like to point out that the author did not specify when identifying players of Asian descent, if he was using nationality or ethnicity in categorizing the players. Thus, it would be quite easy to just say his parents are from Taiwan and by nationality are Taiwanese.

    As to your main point: Taiwanese are actually not ethnically Chinese.

    One of the most accepted definitions for ethnicity is as follows (brevity is favored over a more exhaustive definition for the sake of not making you read like 10 pages :p ) :

    "An ethnic group (or ethnicity) is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, consisting of a common language, a common culture (often including a shared religion) and a tradition of common ancestry (corresponding to a history of endogamy)"

    One of the fundamental characteristics is self-identification with each other. As Taiwanese identify themselves as Taiwanese ethnically, and it requires the self-identification of a people with others to establish ethnicity, I don't need to go further on this point.

    Additionally, as some prefer to also use facets of ancestry/genetics to justify ethnicity, I just wanted to point out that outside of the 8% of the residents of Taiwan who fled from China with the Nationalists after the Communist Takeover in 1949 (also known as wai sheng ren), 90% of the people of Taiwan, the overwhelming majority, are the descendants of male laborers who came many centuries before, and as they had descendants, the only possible means for their procreation would be via marriage to women from Taiwanese aboriginal tribes, introducing 50% aboriginal tribal blood in the first generation alone. Thus scientific literature has the following findings:

    "The human leukocyte antigen typing study and mitochondrial DNA analysis performed in recent years show that more than 88% of the benshengren population have some degree of aboriginal origin."

    Additionally, "A Mahalanobis generalized distance survey of 29 male groups categorized Taiwanese as a separate subgroup of Northern Asian different from Mongolia, Korea, Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou, associating Taiwanese closer to groups from Japan, Ainu and Atayal."

    However you want to evaluate the process of defining ethnicity, Taiwanese is an ethnicity, so please be respectful of that. I would appreciate if the administrator of this excellent site (thanks again for all the great work!) would respect and acknowledge this and list Jeremy Lin and his parents as Taiwanese.

  6. I like Anonymous' comment above, awesome clarification

  7. jeremy's mum and dad are both taiwanese, not chinese/taiwanese

  8. THANK YOU. Read my reasoning in the in-depth explanation above!

  9. Anonymous, thanks for the comprehensive explanation and insight! We respect and acknowledge your feelings and thoughts on JLin's ethnicity.

  10. Well Jeremy lin made to NBA is a good start, but I hope he doesn't end like Sun Yue? a bench warmer in the Lakers..Jeremy needs to develop his game into Jason kidd or Steve Nash type of player

  11. Jeremy Lin and his parents identify themselves as Taiwanese/Chinese. His parents are from Taiwan, his grandparents are from JiaXing, Mainland China; which is why the author of this website reported him as Taiwanese/Chinese. There has NEVER been a respected set of biological/genetic evidence to define RACE. It's a social construct, and all this so-called "Taiwanese DNA" is a complete fabrication for political purposes; which is why it has never been accepted among academic/university research. Please be respectful of other people's opinions and identity. If Jeremy and his family choose to call themselves Taiwanese/Chinese, it is in their right to do so; for I myself consider myself Taiwanese/Chinese, as it's in my right to do so as well.

  12. Unfortunately, Jeremy parents' ancestry are from mainland China, and are what so called waisheng ren (mainlanders). Too bad for those who purposedly deny their ancestry and those who want to use him to play political games. From what I learn, Jeremy and his family are proud of their Chinese ethanity and Chinese/Taiwanese family root. Way to go Jeremy!

  13. I think most interesting to note is that he is the first full Asian-American to be signed since the very first one in 1947.