Apparently Ivy League basketball fans are more racist than fans around the NBA. That was Jeremy Lin’s experience, at least.
Lin played at Harvard before entering the developmental league and going on to play in the NBA, but the Asian-American point guard dealt with much more racism during his college years
The Brooklyn Nets guard opened up about his experience in an interview on his teammate Randy Foye’s podcast Wednesday.
“The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a ‘chink,'” Lin began. “That’s when it happened. I don’t know … that game, I ended up playing terrible and getting a couple of charges and doing real out-of-character stuff. My teammate told my coaches they were calling Jeremy a chink the whole first half. I didn’t say anything, because when that stuff happens, I kind of just, I go and bottle up — where I go into turtle mode and don’t say anything and just internalize everything,” he told Foye.
Lin then reflected on another incident when his team was visiting Vermont.
“I had my hands up while the Vermont player was shooting free throws — their coach was like, ‘Hey ref! You can’t let that Oriental do that!’ I was like, What is going on here? I have been called a chink by players in front of the refs; the refs heard it, because they were yelling it, ‘Yeah, get that out, chink!’ And the ref heard it, looked at both of us and didn’t do anything,” Lin recalled.
The point guard also remembers fans shouting Asian stereotypes at him, like when he was playing at both Georgetown and Yale, where fans shouted, “Hey! Can you even see the scoreboard with those eyes?”
“It’s crazy. My teammate started yelling at the ref, ‘You just heard it, it was impossible for you not to hear that. How could you not do something?’ And the ref just pretended like nothing happened. That was when I was like, Yo, this is a beast. So, when I got to the NBA, I thought this is going to be way worse. But it is way better. Everybody is way more under control.”
The 28-year-old guard became the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese decent when he made it out of the D-league and onto the New York Knicks roster. Despite having to overcome stereotypes held against him in the NBA draft process, the resilient guard overcame that and will forever be remembered for his time with the Knicks deemed as “Linsanity.”