On Aiden Longley ’23

 

Article: Chidinma Esielem ’23 | Photo: Hailey Suller ’22 

 

Steph Curry. Michael Jordan. Kevin Duran. Klay Thompson. Shaquille O’Neal. This is Aiden Longley’s starting five dream team. Now before a plethora of basketball trash talk enters the chat, I implore all of you to look past Aiden’s possibly disagreeable starting five and read on to find out how the unwonted facets of his life have shaped the distinguishable characters he upholds today.

Aiden is an introvert. I know this because of the brown-eyed silent observations he makes in English class, because of his eloquent focus on his projects in Ceramics, and because he said so. In this society, the louder you are and the more you talk, the more recognized you are. However, in the case of Aiden, his reserve and humble disposition sets him apart from others his age. When asked if he would rather play, but always lose, or win, but sit on the bench, Aiden’s principled answer was: “Play but always lose. You get more out of it than just winning and not doing anything. If you’re playing and still losing, you’re still getting better, versus not playing at all.” He believes “knowing that you did something during the game is more important than sitting on the bench and not doing anything.”

His modest personality also parallels with his appreciation for Klay Thompson. Between Steph Curry and Klay Thomson, Aiden likes Klay more, stating that “Steph gets all the fame. Klay is behind the scenes, and he doesn’t get a lot of the recognition he deserves.” Overall, though, Aiden is a huge Golden State Warriors fan, his loyalties attributed to his birthplace—a little outside San Francisco, California. After his father traveled to China for his UConn Chinese History major, he met Aiden’s mom. Later they traveled back to the States for business school at Arizona State University, then moved to California where they had Aiden and his brother, Sam.

Unbeknownst to many, Aiden is indeed both Asian and white. Growing up he didn’t feel any particular weight—good or bad— from being a mixed child. However, he tells me that one benefit of being mixed is that while he went to regular elementary school, “on Sundays (he) would go to Chinese school and learn Chinese. (He) got to meet a lot of good people through that.” His favorite Chinese dish is beef and potatoes on rice—which he tells me his grandfather exquisitely made for him every time they visited China. As I write this, I see the fruits of the intrinsic colorfulness of having multiple cultures fastened in your heart. Its merits are found in the soft army of lanterns Aiden’s watches during the lantern festival. It is palpable in his preference of good ole’ cheeseburgers (how much more American can you get than cheeseburgers?) Bountifully, it is apparent in the quiet idiosyncrasies of his character—poignantly and peacefully undulating.