Jeremy Lin says he's been called 'coronavirus' during games in Instagram condemning racism against Asian-Americans

Jeremy Lin says he's been called 'coronavirus' during games in Instagram condemning racism against Asian-Americans
Jeremy Lin claims to have been the subject of racial insults during his stint in the NBA G-League.VCG/VCG via Getty Images
  • Jeremy Lin released an Instagram post on Friday revealing the racism he's dealt with in the NBA G League.
  • Lin says he was called 'coronavirus' while playing in a game but did not indicate who made the remark.
  • Lin has been the subject of racial insults dating back to his college career at Harvard by both players and the media.

Chinese American basketball player Jeremy Lin revealed that he's dealt with racially-charged insults while competing in the NBA G-League this year.

Lin, who is currently competing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the G League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, released an Instagram post on Friday advocating against racism against Asians in America. He also revealed that he's been called 'coronavirus' during games.

A post shared by Jeremy Lin 林書豪 (@jlin7)

"Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called 'Coronavirus' on the court," Lin said in the post.

Lin has been the subject of racism due to his Chinese background dating back to his college career at Harvard when he heard racial slurs by opposing players and crowds. During an appearance on the Outside The Shot Podcast in 2017, Lin said he heard more insults while playing in college than in the NBA.

Lin, a California native, first came into the NBA in 2010 as an undrafted free agent for the Warriors. He is best known for his stint with the New York Knicks in 2011-12. In February of 2012, Lin broke into the national spotlight after coming off the bench to average 23.9 points across 11 games.


Lin's emergence as the NBA's Cinderella story resulted in a cultural phenomenon dubbed "Linsanity." For weeks, Lin was the biggest name in mainstream NBA media. Much of the fame was due to his Asian heritage, as he represented a significantly under-represented demographic among NBA players. Hua Hsu of Bloomberg News even claimed that Lin had "already become the most famous [Asian American NBA player]."

However, Lin was also subject to racial insults from the mainstream media and other sports figures during his meteoric rise in New York. Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock made a derogatory reference to Lin's genitals on Twitter, while boxer Floyd Mayweather tweeted that Lin was only receiving attention due to his race.

That same month, ESPN published an article with a headline referring to Lin as a "chink in the armor." ESPN took the headline down, and the editor who wrote the headline was fired.

Lin wasn't even safe from the Knicks' radio announcer Spero Dedes, who also used the term "chink" in reference to Lin during a broadcast on 1050 ESPN New York. Dedes received unknown discipline by the MSG Network, according to Sporting News.

The derogatory references against Lin were so prevalent by the mainstream media at the time of his emergence that the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) was forced to release a set of guidelines on the coverage of Lin to help curb the offensive language.


In 2016, former Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni, who led the team during Lin's emergence in 2012, said during an appearance on the Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski that some Knicks players resented Lin during his time in New York.

However, the resentment was not inherently due to Lin's race but more to do with the conflict he created with the team's pre-established chemistry.

The Knicks did not re-sign Lin after the 2012 season, and he went on to play for seven other NBA teams, including the Toronto Raptors in their 2018-19 championship season. Lin also spent the 2019-20 season in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for the Beijing Ducks.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an uptick in anti-Asian sentiment over the last year due to the virus's origins in Wuhan, China. This includes comparisons between Korean Pop group BTS to the virus by German radio host Matthias Matuschik on Thursday.

Lin has become a prominent figure for Asian American athletes and non-athletes during his NBA career. He is now taking it upon himself to speak out against anti-Asian sentiment in the US and stereotypes that have plagued their sociological status.