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Jeremy Lin says he was called 'coronavirus' during a game

February 27, 2021 | 12:29 PM

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The G League is looking into a claim by Jeremy Lin that he was called “coronavirus” during a game.

“Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court,” Lin wrote on social media.

Lin didn’t specify when he was called that, but he shared multiple posts detailing how that specific incident illuminates a larger trend.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has reportedly been a rise of hate-fueled harassment and racist hate crimes against Asian-Americans, fueled by xenophobic rhetoric. However, this isn’t a new issue. Lin made it clear that Asian-Americans are determined to speak up and garner the respect they deserve.

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“Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans,” Lin wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Lin became the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent when he suited up for the Golden State Warriors during the 2010-11 season.

The former Harvard hoops standout who played nearly a decade in the NBA, is currently on the Santa Cruz Warriors. He orchestrated “Linsanity” in 2011-12 and averaged 11.6 points and 4.3 assists in 480 games, and he gained many admirers during that span – including Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Kerr said he saw Lin’s initial post, calling it “really powerful” and adding that he can’t wrap his head around racism.

“I applaud Jeremy for his words and echo his sentiments regarding racism against the Asian American community,” Kerr told reporters. “It’s just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people.”

Lin said Asian-Americans are tired of being asked where they’re “really from,” having their eyes mocked, being “objectified as exotic,” and being told they’re “inherently unattractive.” He said they’re tired of stereotypes in Hollywood limiting who they can be, being invisible, being mistaken for a colleague, and being told their struggles “aren’t as real.”

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“I want better for my elders who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to make a life for themselves here,” Lin said. “I want better for my niece and nephew and future kids. I want better for the next generation of Asian American athletes than to have to work so hard to just be ‘deceptively athletic.’”

Lin closed his post by asking if anyone was listening. As of Saturday morning, the Instagram post had over 100,000 likes and 2,000 comments.

He added another post Saturday morning, clarifying that he isn’t planning on naming or shaming anyone who called him “coronavirus.” His goal is more so to spread awareness than to punish the perpetrator.

“What good does it do in this situation for someone to be torn down?” Lin wrote. “It doesn’t make my community safer or solve any of our long-term problems with racism.”

Lin also credited Harvard assistant coach Kenny Blakeney for helping him through a difficult time when Lin experienced racism in the Ivy League. Blakeney, who also happened to be the first person to tell Lin he was good enough to be an NBA player, taught him how to stay strong and learn from each experience.

Lin said fighting ignorance with ignorance will get our society nowhere, and sharing pain by painting another group of people with stereotypes is not the way to improve. Those who want to help can speak up for an Asian kid who is bullied, look for Asian-American groups that are experiencing poverty but are overlooked, and support Asian-American people both on TV and in real life.

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“Listen to the voices that are teaching us how to be anti-racist towards ALL people,” Lin wrote. “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.”

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