NBA's Treatment of Jeremy Lin Has Not Changed Since 2010

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Jeremy Lin brought his A-game to the G League, scoring among the league's best performers, but still failed to get a shot at an NBA comeback.

Failed by a broken system: Taking on prejudice throughout his basketball journey, Lin always had to do extra to prove that he's good enough for the game.

  • As a high school senior, he earned the Northern California Basketball Player of the Year honors, yet he received no athletic scholarship offers.

  • Lin attended Harvard University, where he played and became the Ivy League’s three-time all-conference player. He failed to get chosen in the 2010 NBA draft.

  • When he was finally signed by the Golden State Warriors, he was given little to no playing time and was even relegated to its inactive list.

  • Despite his explosive “Linsanity” period with the New York Knicks, he would still get similar treatment in his assigned role and playable minutes as he bounced from team to team throughout his NBA career.


High bamboo ceiling: Being one of the first Asian Americans to play in the NBA gave his early teams media attention and positive press. Most of his Asian American fans stuck with him through most of his career as an NBA journeyman.

  • Lin last played in the NBA during the 2018-19 season, which he split between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors as a reserve. He previously played for the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets.

  • Teams are happy to invite him in campaigns for representation and other publicity, but when it comes to offering him a playing job, no one wants to “bite the bullet.”


Still overlooked: Now, after 10 seasons, plus a season each for CBA, and NBA G League, the premier North American basketball league has decided the veteran point guard doesn’t deserve another chance in the court.

  • Lin gave up a lucrative contract to play for a second CBA season and accepted a contract with the Santa Cruz Warriors team in the G League.

  • At 32 years old, he proved he can still play top ball, placing seventh in the league in scoring and fourth in dishing out assists.

  • He went above and beyond, registering personal career-highs in field goals at 50.5% shooting, 43% in 3-point shooting, and 88% in free throws.

  • NBA executives ended up signing the G League’s top 11 scorers and the top three assist leaders, excluding Lin.

  • Improving his defensive game, Lin contributed steals and rebounds for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the team with the 2nd best defensive rating in the league.

  • While some might assume that Lin’s health or age may be a factor in not getting a new NBA contract, his stats in the recent seasons playing for the D League and the CBA could indicate that he's still in top physical form to play competitive basketball. It should be noted that many players his age, or even older than him, received offers without going to the G League.


Online clamor: Actors Daniel Dae Kim, Daniel Wu, and journalists Jose Antonio Vargas, Lisa Ling, and many others are using #signlin and #draftlin hashtags on social media to urge NBA teams to get him back in the league.

Keeping the faith: Lin considers himself blessed and is thankful for the career he had, he shared in a recent social media post.

  • While he hoped that he “could have done more on the NBA court to break more barriers,” he said he has no regrets as he looks toward the future.

  • Lin also shared a message for the next generation of Asian American NBA stars: "When you get your shot, do NOT hesitate. Don't worry whether anyone else thinks you belong. The world never will."


Featured Image via NBA

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