Disappointed that no NBA team has sought him for their rosters, free agent Jeremy Lin said he has hit “rock bottom” in his professional basketball career.
“Every year it gets harder,”Lin said during an emotional interview in Taiwan. “There’s a saying, and it says once you hit rock bottom, the only way is up, but rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me.”
“So, free agency has been tough,” said the 30-year old. “Because I feel like, in some ways, the NBA has kind of given up on me.”
After getting signed by the Toronto Raptors mid-season, Lin became the first Asian American player to win an NBA title when the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in the championship series last June.
In earlier interviews in Taiwan, Lin expressed an openness to playing in Asia. His “greatest dream,” he said, is to play on a team with his younger brother, Joseph, a star on the Fubon Braves of the Super Basketball League in Taiwan.
If he does play in Asia, he already has a huge fan base. After the legendary Yao Ming, who played for the Houston Rockets, Lin is the most popular basketball player in China.
Throughout his career, most of it as the only Asian American NBA player, Lin has had to constantly prove himself by breaking stereotypes and withstanding racist slights and taunts. Lin often finds himself speaking out about Asian masculinity, cultural appropriation and social justice.
Lin has more Twitter followers than All-Star starters Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard combined, and on Weibo (a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook in China) alone, he has 5.85 million followers, more than any other active player and second overall to only Kobe Bryant, according to NextShark.
After being drafted by the Warriors, Lin has bounced around the league riddled with injuries to his knees. The high point of Lin’s nine-year career was during a 12-game stretch with the New York Knicks — which gave birth to the media-driven Linsanity — when he averaged 22.5 points and 8.7 assists.
With the Raptors, Lin mostly played off the bench. In the 2018019 playoffs, Lin averaged 18 minutes per game in the regular season, however, in the playoffs when the starting line up tends to play more minutes, Lin only played about 3.4 minutes and only played one minute during the NBA Finals.
It is not the first time Lin has traveled to Asia. In an interview for the podcast, “At Large With Alex Wong, ” Lin said his experiences in Asia fueled a deeper appreciation for his roots, he said, noting that he’s further comprehended why he values familial piety and politeness ― concepts deeply ingrained in the culture.
“As I pick up more and more of the intricacies of Chinese culture even now, we’re doing a lot of business, and we’re doing a lot of different things … being in those situations, I get a deeper understanding of my roots and also why I am the way I am, why I think the way I think,” he told Wong.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff or submitting a story