Jeremy Lin speaks out on racism, being called ‘coronavirus’ in NBA G League

By Matt Fitzgerald
May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Jeremy Lin (17) speaks during media day for the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Lin is in the process of trying to revive his NBA career with the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate, but his journey back to basketball’s highest level is taking a backseat for the minute as Lin has spoken out against racism he continues to experience.

In a lengthy social media post about his experience as an Asian American, Lin said opposing players in the G League have called him “coronavirus”, implored others to be better on the issue and expressed frustration about the perception that people of his race don’t face severe adversity because of how they look.

Jeremy Lin calls out racism, NBA G League to investigate

ESPN shared the post Lin put up, which includes his personal struggles but goes beyond to include commentary on what many other Asian Americans face on a daily basis:

Shams Charania of The Athletic later reported that an investigation will be launched into Lin’s claim that he was called “coronavirus.”

It’s unfortunate that this has to happen to Lin or anyone from the Asian American community, but it’s hardly surprising given that disgraced former U.S. president Donald Trump relentlessly referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China virus.”

Such derogatory rhetoric only fueled Trump’s supporters to spread hate, and it’s been proven to lead to increased racism toward Chinese Americans, according to a study by Cornell University.

Beyond the racial epithet directed at Lin, though, he also made a point to underscore some of the harmful stereotypes that plague Asian Americans, to the point that their difficulties are downplayed or dismissed entirely by others.

Lin is playing in Santa Cruz with the hopes of eventually getting promoted to join the Warriors, who are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff hunt. The 32-year-old is playing extremely well through five games, averaging 19.6 points, 7.2 assists and 1.6 steals, with shooting splits of 48.3/48.4/88.2.

Whatever happens for Lin’s career in the future, he’s already paved the way for Asian Americans not only in basketball, but also by being upfront about key social issues.

Lin’s impact transcends the basketball court. On the hardwood, though, he’s reached some glorious heights. His inspiring stretch of play sparked the “Linsanity” movement during the 2011-12 NBA season that took the New York Knicks and the Big Apple by storm. He became the first Asian American player to win an NBA championship as a member of the Toronto Raptors in 2019.