Jeremy Lin is opening up about the racism faced by Asian Americans and how that stigma has followed him onto the basketball court.
Lin, who is currently playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G-League, opened up on Facebook about the racism he has faced both on and off the court. His statements come amid a surge in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, with NBC News noting that many of the attacks have targeted older Asian Americans.
Lin Says His Generation Is More Willing to Speak Up
In his Facebook post, Lin said that something is changing in the younger generation of Asian Americans, who are no longer staying silent about the discrimination they have faced, both subtle and more overt.
“We are tired of being told that we don’t experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble,” he wrote. “We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they’re REALLY from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we’re inherently unattractive.”
The NBA veteran, who spent the last season in the Chinese Basketball Association before returning to the United States to play in the G-League, joins a number of others speaking out amid the rise in racially motivated incidents. Michael Eric Dyson, a race and religion professor at Vanderbilt University, told NBC News that those facing discrimination are right to speak out against it.
“We have to acknowledge the pain. Asian brothers and sisters can no longer be demanded to be quiet as the entry, as the price they have to pay for acceptance in the broader community of American ethnicities,” Dyson said.
Lin went on to write that he is tired of negative stereotypes coming from Hollywood and others who downplay the struggles of Asian Americans. He said that he wants better for his elders who worked hard and sacrificed to make a life for themselves in the United States.
Racism Followed Him to the Basketball Court
Even the basketball court isn’t an escape from discrimination, Lin added.
“Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court,” he wrote.
This is not the first time that Lin has spoken out against discrimination. Last year, at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, he bemoaned the rising tide of hatred against Asians and Asian Americans.
“I felt like there was progress being made and many things that I experienced in my career and things I wanted to stand for — it felt like everything was moving in that direction,” Lin told NBC News in April 2020, while he was still in Beijing. “Now it feels like everything’s back to square one.”
In his latest statement, Lin added that he hopes speaking out will help make an easier path for Asian American basketball players who come after him.
“I want better for the next generation of Asian American athletes than to have to work so hard to just be ‘deceptively athletic,’ ” he wrote.