"I always felt like on the court ... color didn't matter, skin didn't matter, it was just about who could play and who couldn't," the Santa Cruz Warriors player said
jeremy lin

Jeremy Lin is recounting his first experience with racism.

While appearing virtually on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday, the 32-year-old basketball player chatted with host Ellen DeGeneres about a racist incident he experienced as a preteen.

Lin told DeGeneres, 63, that during a basketball game when he was in the sixth grade the other players began to make comments to him like, "Go back to China" and "You're a Chinese import."

"For the first time, I was like, 'Wow!' " the Santa Cruz Warriors player said. "I always felt like on the court ... color didn't matter, skin didn't matter, it was just about who could play and who couldn't."

"That was kind of the first time where I was taken a little bit aback and just like, 'Oh wow! People do still see me differently, even in the middle of a basketball game.' "

jeremy lin
Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

During his chat with DeGeneres, Lin also opened up about the recent essay he wrote for Time Magazine about the anger he feels over the rising violence against Asian Americans in the United States.

Referencing the recent spa shootings that took place in Atlanta last month, Lin said, "I feel like at this point a lot of the initial emotions from the Atlanta incident has settled, but I think right now I'm more aware of the situation and what we're up against. For me, over the last week, two weeks, I've started to understand a lot more about the world in terms of what everything kind of looks like."

"So, for me, it's becoming more aware of how difficult things are, how systemic and multi-generational some of the issues are," he continued. "I've been trying to have some conversations, I've been trying to even learn a little bit more."

Lin has also become a bit more hopeful: "At the same time, I feel really hopeful too because of just how many conversations and how much mobilization I've seen happen."

If you've been attacked or have witnessed an attack, please contact your local authorities. You can also report your incident here. To learn more and to report crimes, go to: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Stop the AAPI Hate, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, and Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council.