As a society, we've cast the Asian person as the hard-working nerd who'd rather spend a sunny afternoon with an Algebra textbook than playing sports. Before Jeremy Lin, Asian Americans never got a fair shake on the field. Lin was the perfect foil, a Harvard grad and an NBA star.
Asians have had success in MLB, but detractors don't see baseball as a sport that requires elite athleticism. As more Asian Americans break into the NBA and NHL, this stereotype will slowly be torn down in the United States, but overseas, Asian dominance in athletics is everywhere. Just look at the medal count these past two Olympics: China led the gold medal count at the 2008 Olympics, and South Korea and Japan were in the top 10. In 2012, China finished second overall, and South Korea was in the top five as well.