On Thursday night, Jeremy Lin scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the Nets 107-88 win over the Heat. The story of the game wasn’t Lin’s performance or the team’s second win, but his latest hairstyle and comments made by former Net Kenyon Martin on Lin’s decision to wear dreadlocks.
It all started with Lin penning a piece in the Players’ Tribune about why he constantly changes his hair. The always quotable Martin posted a video with the following comments about Lin’s latest choice.
“Do I need to remind this damn boy that his last name Lin? Like, come on man. Let’s stop this, man, with these people, man. There is no way possible that he would have made it on one of our teams with that bullshit going on on his head. Come on man, somebody need to tell him, like, ‘All right bro, we get it. We get it. You wanna be black.’ Like, we get it. But the last name is Lin. Alright.”
Angered fans of Linsanity were hoping for returned shots. Instead, Lin responded with compliments.
“Hey man, it’s all good. You definitely don’t have to like my hair and definitely entitled to your opinion. Actually I’m legit grateful you sharin it TBH. At the end of the day, I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos because I think its a sign of respect. And I think as minorities, the more that we appreciate each other’s cultures, the more we influence mainstream society. Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops … had your poster up on my wall growin up.”
Martin responded with another video, claiming his original comments were a joke and that he really does not give a damn about what anyone has to say about it.
“Take y’all comments to the bank and see what they give y’all for them. But that man grown, that man can rock whatever hairstyle he want to rock. That don’t mean I have to like it or agree with it. Second of all. I’m grown. I can say whatever I want to say about whatever I want to say. Ain’t about race. Ain’t about none of that. Grow up people, it was a joke, but I don’t like it, don’t agree with it, but it is what it is.”
After the Nets game, Lin discussed Martin’s comments and asked fans not to pit them against each other or attack Martin.
Via Anthony Puccio
“First I’d hope that a lot of Asian fans don’t go on his page and say racist things to him,” Lin said. “I think that’s not the right way to go about it. In a lot of ways to pit us against each other, like, ‘I won versus Kenyon Martin winning.’ I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it. It’s not really about winning or losing. The whole point is we’re trying to be unified so I feel like even sometimes when people come to me and say, ‘Oh man you embarassed him.’ It’s like ‘dude that’s not what this is about.’ Right, that’s not the whole point of this discussion to pit it into two sides to see who wins. The whole point is that we all have to get on the same page. We need to have people stop going on his page and saying racist things. That’s not OK.
We just need to spend a little more time thinking about what we sy, thinking about what it’s like to be somebody else. At the end of the day he said what he said, but I’m not really that offended. If that’s how he thinks, that’s how he thinks. My job is to be gracious and loving. I think if I can share a little bit of my side, then the next time he might have a different viewpoint. But not if my whole fanbase comes behind and calling him — I didn’t see it — but I heard people were saying the ‘n’ word on his page. That’s not what I stand for and that’s not helping us move in the direction we want to move in. I think both sides need to come together.
If Asians are able to be passionate about issues that aren’t just related to Asians. If African Americans are able to be passionate about issues that aren’t just related to African Americans, I think we’ll see something big start to happen. I think we’ll be able to influence mainstream society and that’s the ultimate goal. All this pitting me against him — or whatever that creates division I don’t stand for.”