Jeremy Lin Recalls the 'Worst Racism' He's Endured on the Basketball Court: 'I Self-Combusted'
"It wasn't until I got some mental help that I started to see like, 'Oh no, there are so many traumas that I have gone through,' " Jeremy Lin said
Jeremy Lin is opening up about the "worst racism" he's endured on the basketball court and how it ultimately affected his mental health.
The NBA veteran, 32, spoke about the experience during Mental Health Coalition's "121" Instagram Live series on Thursday, sharing that he didn't realized he was carrying so much "racial trauma" until he sought help.
"One thing that I did last year was I started getting a sports psychologist, which is basically a therapist," he said a candid conversation with mental health activist Dr. Jenny Wang and his brother, Josh Lin. "It's interesting because when you came on, one of the first thing you said was, 'When you were experiencing this on the court, were you able to name it? And did you consider this as racial trauma?' That word trauma really stuck with me."
"I didn't realize it, but because of the way I grew up and because of the experiences I had, I ended up just thinking, 'This is just the way it is. This is just the way the world is,' " Lin continued. "It wasn't until I got some mental help that I started to see like, 'Oh no, there are so many traumas that I have gone through.' "
"And when you go through trauma, it means there are wounds there and things that need to be addressed," the athlete said.
According to Lin, he went "went through the worst racism" when he was "repetitively" called anti-Asian slurs on the basketball court.
"I self-combusted and I went crazy," he remembered. "I had a knee-jerk reaction and I didn't handle it well, and I ended up hurting myself and my team."
Lin added that he's since learned from seeking help with his mental health to "take that emotion, process it and channel it into a right way."
"I've realized so much how I live my life is just through athlete culture, like, 'No, no. Forget that,' " he explained. "For me, I had to unwire a lot of the ways I think."
Lin currently plays point guard for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League. He's also played on the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and other teams since the start of his career in 2010.
Last month, the basketball player spoke out about his personal experience with racism amid the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States.
"Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans. We are tired of being told that we don't experience racism, we are tired of being told to keep our heads down and not make trouble," Lin wrote in his post.
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"We are tired of Asian American kids growing up and being asked where they're REALLY from, of having our eyes mocked, of being objectified as exotic or being told we're inherently unattractive," he continued. "We are tired of the stereotypes in Hollywood affecting our psyche and limiting who we think we can be. We are tired of being invisible, of being mistaken for our colleague or told our struggles aren't as real."
His ended the statement with an emotional plea: "So here we are again, sharing how we feel. Is anyone listening?"