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NBA Veteran Jeremy Lin Says He Was Called 'Coronavirus' During A Game

NBA Veteran Jeremy Lin Says He Was Called 'Coronavirus' During A Game

The NBA community has rallied behind Lin after he released a powerful statement via social media.

Max Sherry

Max Sherry

There's absolutely no room for racism in sport.

And in recent years the NBA has done its best to try and stamp it out of the league for good.

So when Jeremy Lin claimed he was called "coronavirus" during a game last year, the news sent shockwaves through the basketball community.


Lin, who is of Taiwanese descent, recently took to social media to discuss the growing number of racist remarks made towards Asian people - especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And in the caption of his Instagram post, he said he was labelled something completely out of order while playing the game he loves.

"Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans," he said.

"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. 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. We are tired of the stereotypes in Hollywood affecting our psyche and limiting who we think we can be. We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren't as real.

"Being an Asian American doesn't mean we don't experience poverty and racism. Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called "coronavirus" on the court. Being a man of faith doesn't mean I don't fight for justice, for myself and for others."

32-year-old "Linsanity" is currently plying his trade in the G-League with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

In a second follow-up Instagram post, the 2019 NBA champion urged Asian-Americans to not be afraid of coming forward and sharing their stories of discrimination and racism as a way of combatting it.

Lin also encouraged people to offer their own hands of support instead of turning a blind eye to the issue, adding "fighting ignorance with ignorance will get us nowhere".

"I know this will disappoint some of you but I'm not naming or shaming anyone. What good does it do in this situation for someone to be torn down? It doesn't make my community safer or solve any of our long-term problems with racism," Lin said.

"When I experienced racism in the Ivy League, it was my assistant coach Kenny Blakeney that talked me through it. He shared with me his own experiences as a Black man - stories of racism I couldn't begin to comprehend. Stories including being called the n-word and having things thrown at him from cars driving by. He drew from his experiences with identity to teach me how to stay strong in mine. He was also the first person to tell me I was an NBA player as a sophomore at Harvard. I thought he was crazy.

"The world will have you believe that there isn't enough justice or opportunities to go around. That we only have time to pay attention to one people group at a time so we all need to fight for that spot. That the people you see hurting other people that look like you on the news represent an entire group of people. But this just isn't true.

"Fighting ignorance with ignorance will get us nowhere. Sharing our own pain by painting another group of people with stereotypes is NOT the way.

"Instead, if you want to truly help, look for the Asian kid that has no one to speak up for him when he's bullied. Look for the Asian American groups that are experiencing poverty but getting overlooked. Support the Asian American movie or TV show that gives real opportunity to tell different stories. Look for the Asian people that are scared to walk around in their neighbourhood and ask how you can help them.

"Listen to the voices that are teaching us how to be anti-racist towards ALL people. Hear others stories, expand your perspective, stop comparing experiences. I believe this generation can be different. But we will need empathy and solidarity to get us there."

It's understood the NBA have launched an investigation into the alleged racist incident involving Lin.

Meanwhile, some of the NBA's biggest names rallied behind the veteran and offered him their support.

While others simply praise him for his bravery, it was Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr who perhaps had the strongest words.

"It's just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people, including our former president, as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China. It's just shocking," Kerr said.


"I can't wrap my head around any of it, but I can't wrap my head around racism in general. We're all just flesh and blood. We're all just people. As Pop once said to me, we're all accidents of birth. We're born. We come out the way we are. We don't have a say in it."

"What we do have a say in is how we treat people. It's shocking to me that we can treat each other so poorly based on the colour of skin or whatever it is. So I applaud Jeremy for speaking up.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@jlin7

Topics: Racism, Basketball, NBA, nba news, Coronavirus, Australia, Covid-19