Jeremy Lin Talks Threats, Cyberbullying Against Asian Americans Amid COVID-19

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2020

Former Toronto Raptors' Jeremy Lin, currently a free agent, speaks to young Taiwanese players during a basketball clinic in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, July 27, 2019. Lin is in Taiwan to attend a charity event and basketball clinics for young athletes. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Chiang Ying-ying/Associated Press

Former NBA point guard Jeremy Lin reiterated Tuesday he's felt compelled to spotlight and condemn the treatment of Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deyscha Smith of Boston.com provided comments Lin made during a roundtable discussion with former NBA All-Star Caron Butler, civil rights attorney Vanita Gupta and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who ran for U.S. President before dropping out of the race in March.

"It hits home seeing just how many Asian Americans are affected by it," Lin said in the roundtable. "For me, I felt like I had to come out and say something. To not feel welcome, or feel safe physically, is just a different level. That’s something that I really want to make sure I took a stance on."

The 31-year-old California native was born to Taiwanese parents in 1988.

In April, he wrote an essay for The Players' Tribune entitled "The Darkness Has Not Overcome It," which focused on the treatment of Asian Americans:

"But over the last few weeks, as the tension and anxiety in the U.S. has gone through the roof, we're seeing that there's a real darkness beneath the words. It's not just trash talking or trolling or hateful speech. Asian Americans are being spit on, yelled at, and physically attacked in their own country. In Midland, Texas, a man tried to stab a family with two young children because they were Asian. In just the first two weeks of data organization Stop AAPI Hate's existence, over 1,100 cases of coronavirus discrimination were reported. (And this is only including people who knew enough about the organization to call.) Every Asian American I know knows someone who has been targeted during this time. In fact, anti-Asian racism is rapidly increasing all over the world. It's so crazy and sad."

Lin expanded on those thoughts Tuesday, urging people around the world to educate themselves about the COVID-19 situation and their treatment of others, per Smith: "For me, that would be my warning to everybody else is, don't wait until it's too late or it's too real to actually get educated about it. I think, again, everything kind of comes down to taking a little bit of time to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Lin, a Harvard product, rose to prominence during a standout stretch with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 NBA season that was dubbed "Linsanity."

He most recently played for the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association before the 2019-20 campaign was halted in February because of the pandemic.