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Mayweather: 'Lin hype is based on race not talent'

February 14, 2012 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
Jeremy Lin was the first U.S.-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, and his rise to stardom received international media coverage. Jeremy Lin was the first U.S.-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, and his rise to stardom received international media coverage.
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Looking back on Linsanity
Looking back on Linsanity
Looking back on Linsanity
Looking back on Linsanity
Looking back on Linsanity
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Boxer Floyd Mayweather claims the Jeremy Lin hype is based on the player's race
  • New York Knicks' Lin has taken the NBA by storm, scoring a record amount of points
  • Lin has inspired the Knicks to a five-game winning streak and outshone Kobe Bryant
  • Mayweather said he was speaking up on behalf of other NBA players

(CNN) -- Jeremy Lin has taken the basketball world by storm, but boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. claims the hype surrounding the NBA's new sensation is based on his ethnic background rather than his talent.

Lin has had a fairytale rise to fame after inspiring the New York Knicks to a five-game winning streak and scoring a record 109 points in his first four starts for the team -- surpassing the mark previously set by Allen Iverson.

But undefeated WBC welterweight champion Mayweather has suggested the "Linsanity" sweeping America is because pointguard Lin is the first U.S.-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.

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"Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian," Mayweather wrote on micro-blogging website Twitter.

The NBA's breath of fresh air

"Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."

Lin graduated from Harvard University and initially failed to get drafted into the NBA, but he was signed by the Golden State Warriors as a free agent in July 2010.

He moved to New York in December after being dropped by the Houston Rockets and outshone the legendary Kobe Bryant by scoring 38 points as the Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 92-85 on Friday.

Mayweather, who will fight Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas in May before starting a 90-day jail sentence for domestic abuse, said he was speaking up for other players in the NBA.

Why Jeremy Lin's race matters

"Other countries get to support/cheer their athletes and everything is fine," the 34-year-old said. "As soon as I support black American athletes, I get criticized.

"I'm speaking my mind on behalf of other NBA players. They are programmed to be politically correct and will be penalized if they speak up."

Lin and the Knicks will attempt to extend their winning run to six games when they play the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Center on Tuesday.

Mayweather had hoped to finally face Manny Pacquiao in May in a fight that boxing fans have been waiting years for, but they could not agree on a date.

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