Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Linsanity Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful sports docu will inspire young basketball fans.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Jeremy Lin's ambition to make his NBA dreams a reality is a lesson to everyone who loves a sport but is considered an underdog. As an Asian-American, Lin proves that even today athletes have to face racial discrimination and taunts. He overcomes the insults and racial epithets to concentrate on the game and help his team. The documentary shows how discipline, family support, and self-confidence all play important roles in how to succeed at a sport.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lin seems incredibly self-aware and humble. He has a strong sense of faith and considers his talent a gift from God. He is close to his family and even attended his younger brother's college basketball games after his phenomenal overnight success story. Despite his meteoric rise to fame, he manages to remain focused on enjoying the fact that his dream of starting on an NBA team has come true.


Infrequent language, but it includes the many racial slurs and taunts Lin heard while playing, including "Chinaman," "chink," "slant eyes," "Go back to China," and "Can you see out of those eyes?" 


Occasional shots of Nike apparel and sports memorabilia, particularly of Lin's jersey from his time with the New York Knicks.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Linsanity is a documentary about Jeremy Lin, the NBA player who made headlines in February 2012 for coming off the bench an unknown and then leading the New York Knicks to a winning streak that created an overnight success dubbed "Linsanity." The documentary chronicles how Lin, who grew up in Northern California, had to battle prejudice, disinterest from Division 1 colleges, and disappointment dealing with the draft and several team trades before exploding onto the scene in 2012. Although several derogatory terms are hurled against Lin ("chink" and "Chinaman," for example), the comments provide a teachable moment for parents and older kids to discuss bigotry and overcoming discrimination, in sports and in life.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAuberry March 26, 2019


Jeremy Lin is an inspiration for any young basketball player. He loves God and the game!!
Parent Written byA P February 24, 2019

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What's the story?

What is LINSANITY? It's the word to describe the seemingly overnight success of NBA player Jeremy Lin, who blew basketball fans, the media, and even his teammates away when he came off the bench to lead the New York Knicks to a remarkable winning streak in February 2012. Not only did Lin surprise because of his incredible per-game average but also because the then-unknown player was a 6-foot-3 Chinese-American. This documentary, narrated by Daniel Dae Kim, reveals how Lin was one of California's best high-school ball players but how he ended up at Harvard instead of a Division 1 school, possibly because of his heritage. While battling discrimination and disappointment, Lin keeps focused thanks to his family and faith.

Is it any good?

The movie is thoughtful and family-focused, and Jeremy Lin seems like an ideal athlete for young basketball fans to admire and respect. The story of Lin's rise to fame is well known and was exhaustively covered in 2012. The American-born middle son of Taiwanese immigrants, he grew up in Palo Alto, Calif., and went on to play at Harvard before ending up in the NBA and eventually having a series of games that most professional athletes can only dream about. But what the documentary shows is how Lin didn't go to Harvard because that was his dream; his dream was to get drafted to play professional ball. He had hoped to attend Stanford or Berkeley or another Division 1 college, but none of them seemed interested in him, despite his being a first-team, All State player. 

As a devout Christian, Lin considers his talent a gift from God, and the documentary includes several interviews with his family's minister to explain how Lin's faith carried him through the more difficult aspects of his journey to the NBA. He always had the talent and the drive, but, time and time again, Lin had to face and overcome disappointment. Every time he showed up on a court, odds were he'd have to deal with the opposing team's fans (or players) hurling racial epithets and insensitive jokes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way race and image played a role in Jeremy Lin's journey to NBA success. How did Lin's background hurt him and also possibly help him?

  • How did the media cover Lin's immediate popularity? Were they able to separate his skills from his ethnicity? What do you think of all the Asian jokes and puns, however well-intentioned, made about him?

  • Do you think Jeremy Lin is a good role model? Why? Who are some other underdogs and pioneering stars in their given sports?

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