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Jeremy Lin Discusses The Racism He Faced During College And How It Affected Him

Playing in the Ivy League, Lin recalls the acts of students from America’s most prestigious colleges

Jeremy Lin is now 28 years old and a solid NBA player for the Brooklyn Nets, but since his hyped debut five years ago, he’s enjoyed one of the most extraordinary rises to success of any athlete in the modern era. Amid “Linsanity,” as Jeremy made the leap from the NBA’s D-League to an overnight star for the New York Knicks, he quickly became the most iconic Asian-American athlete in the country—and with it came the struggle to drown out the taunts of the racist agenda.

Speaking on his teammate Randy Foye’s podcast, Lin recalls that despite the added attention and pressure, the adversity he faced in the NBA paled in comparison to the taunts he endured during his college career as a guard for Harvard.

He recalled on the podcast, via Deadspin:

The worst was at Cornell, when I was being called a ‘chink.’ That’s when it happened. … I ended up playing terrible and getting a couple of charges and doing real out-of-character stuff ... 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 attributes the hostility in college to “drunk” students mouthing off. While he continues to endure everything from taunts to slurs to off-color remarks, he says the NBA is a better environment, and he wears his struggles as a “badge of honor.” Since his college days, he’s sought to mentally distance himself from the attacks.

“I take pride in it. It is not a burden to me anymore. I am not scared anymore. I appreciate it and want to help and challenge the world, stereotypes and everything,” he says.

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