As Asian athletes have gotten more attention in American media, it seems that people are finally taking Asians seriously in the world of sports entertainment. As summertime rolls around and we all get the chance to enjoy some outdoor sports again, it seems like the perfect time to take a look at a few of the top Asian-American athletes of the 2000s.

Jeremy Lin

This Harvard-educated basketball player started a rush of Linsanity when he led an unexpected winning streak with the New York Knicks in the 2011-12 season. Jeremy Lin, of Chinese descent, was born to Taiwanese immigrants and is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. In the summer of 2012, Lin signed a three-year contract with the Houston Rockets, the same team as Yao Ming, who preceded Lin as a fellow Asian-American basketball star.

Lin and Ming joined the ranks of other Asian-Americans who played in the NBA, including Wataru Misaka and Rex Walters.

Tennis Pro Michael Chang | Source:

Tennis Pro Michael Chang | Source:

Michael Chang

When Michael Chang won the French Open at the age of 17, he also became the youngest male player to ever win the Grand Slam singles title. His career was full of numerous “youngest ever” records, including his first national title, the USTA Junior Hard Court singles, at the age of 12 as well as reaching the semifinal stage of a top-level professional tournament at age 15. Chang remained in the top 10 of the ATP world rankings for several years and won numerous titles; he won at least one ATP title for 11 consecutive years, the longest active streak on Tour. Since retiring from top-level games, Chang has since joined other major tennis players in the Champions Series. In 2008, Chang was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Tiger Woods

The winner of more than a dozen golf championships, Tiger Woods is arguably one of the most well-known athletes in the world. Woods is a self-proclaimed “Cablinasian” — one-quarter Chinese, one-quarter Thai, one-quarter African American, one-eighth Native American, and one-eighth Dutch.

Two of Woods’ female counterparts include Michelle Wie and Grace Park.


Acclaimed Golfer Grace Park | Source:

Grace Park

A native of Seoul, South Korea, Grace Park moved to the United States at the age of 12. During her amateur career, Park was named Rolex Junior Player of the Year in 1994 and 1996. As a professional, Park was a member of the LPGA Tour from 2000 until her retirement in 2012. Through her career, Park won six LPGA Tour events, including one major championship.

Michelle Wie

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii to South Korean immigrants, Michelle Wie became the youngest player to qualify for a USGA amateur championship at the age of 10, and she also became the youngest winner of the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links as well as the youngest to qualify for a LPGA Tour event. In 2005, Wie took her golf career professional at the age of 16.

A couple other notable Asian-American golfers of the 2000s include Vijay Singh and Anthony Kim.


Football Star Dat Nguyen |

Dat Nguyen

The first Vietnamese-American to play in the NFL, Dat Nguyen played professionally for the Dallas Cowboys as a starting middle linebacker. He was recognized as an All-Pro in 2003 and was given the Golden Torch Award at the Vietnamese American National Gala in 2004.

Hines Ward

Joining Nguyen in both the football and the entertainment industry is Hines Ward, a half-Korean half-African-American former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He earned three team MVP selections and was also a four-time NFL Pro Bowl selection before retiring in 2012. Ward has also appeared in various forms of television and film media, including the reality TV series Dancing With The Stars, and brief cameos in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises and in The Walking Dead TV series.

Other Asian-American football greats include Roman Gabriel, John Lee, and Kailee Wong, among others.


Ice-skating Champion Michelle Kwan |

Michelle Kwan

Born in California, Kwan is the daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong. By the age of 11, she had begun competing in iceskating championships at the junior level. At 13, she placed eighth in the World Championships. She went on to win the world title in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2003. By the end of her career, Kwan had become not only a five-time World champion, but also a two-time Olympic medalist, and nine-time U.S. champion.

Kwan joined the likes of other Asian-American ice-skating champions like Kristi Yamaguchi, who in 1992 was the Olympic, world, and U.S. figure skating champion. In 2005, she was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame and later also became the celebrity champion of the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars.

Short Track Speek Skating Champ Apolo Anton Ohno | Source:

Short Track Speek Skating Champ Apolo Anton Ohno | Source:

Apolo Anton Ohno

Another champion on the ice is eight-time Olympic medalist speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno. The son of an American mother but raised mainly by his Japanese-born father, Ohno at the age of 14 had become the youngest U.S. national champion. As the reigning champion from 2001-2009, Ohno went on to win the title a total of 12 times. Also the youngest to win a World Cup event title and the first American to win a World Cup overall title in 2001, Ohno won the World Cup overall title a total of three times. He won his first overall World Championship title in 2008. At his first Winter Olympics in 2002, Ohno was awarded a silver and gold medal. He went on to win another gold and two bronze medals in the 2006 Winter Olympics and a silver and two bronze medals in 2010. Off the ice, Apolo Anton Ohno went on to beat out the competition in Dancing with the Stars.

This list doesn’t even begin to describe the amount of talent that is among the Asian-American population. While this list can go on, one thing is certain: Asian-Americans are proving themselves in the world of sports entertainment.