Jeremy Lin says Black Harvard coach helped him deal with anti-Asian racism

'Being a nine-year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called coronavirus,' said Lin

Basketball player Jeremy Lin of the Santa Cruz Warriors, a team in the NBA’s G League, has spoken out after being called “coronavirus” by a fellow player during a game.

ESPN reported that the G League is currently investigating the incident according to a league official who confirmed the news to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears on Friday.

Jeremy Lin #7 of the Atlanta Hawks directs his team during the first quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on December 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The 32-year-old NBA player refused to name the player who made the racial slur, saying, “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 also acknowledged his then-assistant coach Kenny Blakeney who he said helped him deal with the racism he endured at Harvard University.

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“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,” Lin said in a message.

Lin said Blakeney “drew from his experiences with identity to teach me how to stay strong in mine” and said “he was also the first person to tell me I was an NBA player as a sophomore at Harvard. I thought he was crazy.”

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Lin voiced his weariness of the treatment towards the Asian community and wanting better for future generations.

“Being an Asian American doesn’t mean we don’t experience poverty and racism. Being a nine-year NBA veteran doesn’t protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court,” he said.

Lin ended the post: “So, here we are again, sharing how we feel. Is anyone listening?”

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Steve Kerr, Golden State coach, said he’d like to see the NBA deeply investigate Lin’s claim while also noting the rise in racism and hate crimes against the Asian community.

“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,” Kerr said in response of Lin’s Facebook post.

“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 continued.

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