Basketball star Jeremy Lin on Wednesday spoke out about the recent attacks on Asian Americans and opened up about his personal experiences with racism on the court, CBS San Francisco reports. NBA officials with the league are that he was called "coronavirus" during a game.
Lin, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and once played for the Golden State Warriors, is now playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the NBA G league.
The basketball star told CBS San Francisco that he wants to promote empathy, love and compassion. He said he has chosen not to call out the player who allegedly made the offensive comment on the court.
"From my standpoint, it does no good to bring somebody down, when what I'm trying to do is uplift the people that need to be and to bring awareness to the things that need to be brought," said Lin.
When asked when he first became conscious of racism, Lin said, "I never really thought that much about it until I would say I started to play really competitively, and I started to play outside of the Northern California bubble."
The 32-year-old said when he played at Harvard, he was called a racial slur.
"Yeah, multiple times, and even in certain arenas, talking about my eyes, talking about different stereotypes, talking about going back to China, things like that, and I've never named the person," he said.
He said the longstanding problem of anti-Asian racism was exposed.
Lin first talked about his own experience with racism on social media, saying, "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."
"Asians can't only be passionate about Asian issues. African Americans can't only be passionate about African American issues. We have to band together. We have to work together, understand each other. We have to listen to each other," Lin told the outlet. "And not just between these two groups; between all groups there has to be that kind of solidarity."
For every 3-pointer he makes, Lin said he will donate to an organization that supports youth empowerment or cross-cultural work. He will also highlight the non-profits on his social media.
Lin said the rise in anti-Asian hate has made him take more pride in his identity. He told CBS San Francisco that when he was younger, he didn't want to be known as the basketball player who was Asian, and instead wanted to be recognized for his talent on the court.
"I'm actually more than okay being the Asian basketball player, if that means that I can do things like this which is stand up for and have a voice for the unheard," he said.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave Lin his full support on Friday after reading his Facebook post.
"Really powerful. I applaud Jeremy for his words and echo his sentiments regarding racism against the Asian American community. It's just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people, including our former president [Donald Trump], as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China. It's just shocking. I don't know — I can't wrap my head around any of it, but I can't wrap my head around racism in general," Kerr said.
Lin said that he was grateful to hear Kerr's response, and that it reflects well on the Golden State Warriors organization.
"If we can get more people listening that's a win," Lin said. "A big part of it is not only are we trying to get more people listening, we're trying to get more people talking, we're trying to get more people to share their stories, to come out when they experience certain things, to reach out for help."
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