As the Charlotte Hornets prepare for their first-round matchup with the Miami Heat, one member of the Hornets is suddenly drawing a lot more attention because of an unlikely source. Hsiu-Chen Kuei, a 48-year-old stay-at-home mom in San Jose, California, recently created and uploaded a YouTube video documenting the lack of flagrant fouls that 6'3 guard Jeremy Lin has drawn in recent years, and fans and media are taking notice of the perceived bias.
The New York Times reported on the video and profiled Kuei, who was seeking fair treatment for Lin rather than self-promotion. YouTube is littered with sports clips exposing questionable officiating and breaking down plays, but Kuei's cuts to the heart of the matter with a bit more sharpness.
The six-minute and 30-second video, which has received over one million videos since it was posted on April 5, shows multiple instances in which Lin seemingly should have been the recipient of a flagrant foul. Even though he draws a lot of contact, the 27-year-old hasn’t gotten a flagrant foul call in the last three seasons. The video ends with Houston Rockets veteran guard Jason Terry being physical on three instances with Lin and somehow managing to avoid ejection or a flagrant call.
Since the start of the 2013-2014 NBA season, Lin has drawn 813 personal fouls, which are the most for any guard that hasn't drawn a flagrant foul. Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant and Chicago Bulls big man Pau Gasol, owning a combined 13 All-Star appearances, are the only players at any position that have been fouled more during that time without getting a flagrant foul call, but that’s largely because of the way they play the game.
Gasol, who is listed at 7'0, has just 286 drives to the basket in the last three years, while Durant, listed at 6'9, has driven to the basket 939 times. Lin has 1,528 drives over that time, taking a number of hard hits and still failing to earn a flagrant-foul whistle.
"I'd love to get more calls. It is part of it. You have to play through it," Lin said in response to the video. "... I'm just thankful the fans are trying to do something about it and trying to push the league to at least review some this stuff."
A flagrant foul is defined by the NBA as “unnecessary contact committed by a player against an opponent,” and Lin seems to have been the victim of this multiple times over the past few years. However, Michael Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, claims that the referees were correct in not calling any flagrant fouls on plays that were shown in the video.
“While some of the plays in the video you referenced involved hard contact, none was subsequently deemed a Flagrant Foul given the full circumstances, angles and comparables from past games,” Bass told The Huffington Post in an email. “Referees do make mistakes, which means they miss calls that should have been made. When that occurs, we collect the data and provide referees with feedback to ensure improvement.”
Despite Bass’ comments, it’s certainly an anomaly that Lin hasn’t gotten a flagrant foul call, especially considering the rate at which he is fouled. Only 40 players took more free throws than Lin in the 2015-2016 season, but 104 players played more minutes.
So why the lack of flagrant foul calls? Perhaps it’s Lin’s style of play, and refs are simply too used to seeing him get hit on his way to the hoop. The combo guard is at his best when he’s driving into the paint and creating offense, and he’s become all-too accustomed to opponents being physical with him.
As Charlotte looks to win their first playoff series in 14 years, Lin is trying not to focus on the calls he should or should not be getting. The sixth-year player often shies away from discussing himself or the heightened attention he has received from "Linsanity" in 2012.
“It is what it is. I just want to keep playing hard,” Lin told The Charlotte Observer. “It’s one of those things where I made a rule of myself halfway through the season that I’m not going to argue with refs. Whatever happens, happens. It helps me stay focused on basketball.”
Averaging 11.7 points per game as a key player off the bench for the Hornets, Lin has had one of his best seasons since he burst onto the scene with the New York Knicks four years ago. He isn’t likely to win the award, but Lin has been in the conversation regarding the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.