NBA: Jeremy Lin still has point to prove over racist attitudes in basketball

The Houston Rockets playmaker admits he has to work harder for longer on the court to overcome prejudice about Asian players in the sport.
Houston Rockets playmaker Jeremy Lin
Houston Rockets playmaker Jeremy Lin

Basketball star Jeremy Lin says he feels he still has to prove himself on the court because of racist attitudes towards Asian players.

The 24-year-old, who rejoined the Houston Rockets from the New York Knicks this summer, believes negative stereotypes persist in the sport.

"I'm going to have to play well for a longer period of time for certain people to believe it because I'm Asian," he told GQ.

"That's just the reality of it,"

The Harvard graduate was pulled off the bench for the Knicks last season after the club lost two players to injury, and went on to spark a win streak for the side.

The hype around the player was dubbed "Lin-sanity", until an injury put paid to the rest of his season.

When the Houston Rockets made an offer of $25 million for three years and the Knicks refused to match it, Lin departed for the club that had let him go earlier in his career.

He rejoins the side where retired Chinese star Yao Ming played his entire NBA career - and admits comments made by commentator Charles Barkley when Yao was made top pick of the 2002 draft still linger.

"There's a lot of perceptions and stereotypes of Asian-Americans that are out there today and the fact that I'm Asian-American makes it harder to believe, even crazier, more unexpected," he said.

"When Yao came out his rookie year as the first pick of the draft, you have Charles Barkley saying, 'If he scores 17 points in a game, I'm going to kiss a donkey's butt,'" Lin says.

"If you (play well) for long enough, I think you would get the respect."

Lin felt racism slaps last season such as an ESPN website headline "Chink in the armor" after he had a poor showing on the court.

"In my younger days, it would make me really angry," Lin said. "I think the comments in college were pure racism. Stuff that was said by opposing players, opposing fans, opposing coaches. So none of this was even close to that."

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Published: October 17, 2012 04:00 AM


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