Lin Leaves Everlasting Legacy


Jeremy Lin changed basketball for Asian and Asian-American basketball players and fans.

But despite Lin’s impressive career (and his terrific stats last season in the CBA and NBA G League), he has not been signed to an NBA roster since 2019 when he won a championship with the Toronto Raptors.

Lin tweeted an intimate letter in May of last year, sharing his pain and frustration with the situation. He had hoped for just one 10-day contract to try and prove he could still contribute at the NBA level, but, “For reasons I’ll never fully know, that chance never materialized.”

Shortly thereafter, Lin announced he would return to the CBA to play for the Beijing Ducks.

While Lin may be saying goodbye to the NBA for now, many of us remain forever thankful for his accomplishments. And while we still hope to see him back in an NBA uniform soon, Lin’s true legacy goes far beyond the basketball court.

Video and transcript below

Thank you, Jeremy, for changing the game…

For your greatness, your influence, while the world called it insane that an Asian American athlete had so much courage and skill.

You shocked us all with your talent and your will.

I read your letter about how you wish you’d done more and I just wanted to settle the score that it was you who kicked down that door, paving the way for more Asian-American hoopers.

You see, something about you is bigger than basketball and I think the Hall of Fame has a place someday for a man who gave his all.

A champion who worked relentlessly, but more importantly, someone who changed the world. Historically speaking, transformed the way we look at Asians in sports.

You see, that’s why we support you and adore you. Like Yao before you, larger than life, shattering stereotypes.

You proved you were the real deal with every point and every steal. Not a gimmick, not just a flash in the pan.

No, you were the man.

New York City in the palm of your hand, and you saw all your fans in the stands, and from sea to shining sea.

Across continents, in every corner, people who look like you and me.

And you always stayed true to you. Always hungry, always humble.

When you flew, when you soared, and when you stumbled.

And we know your journey is just beginning, regardless if you’re playing, regardless if you’re winning, because you stand up to fear, bigotry, and hate.

Bravely leading, helping create a more perfect society. A better place for all the invisibilized.

For anyone who’s ever been shut out and denied no matter how hard we tried to prove ourselves.

So, when it’s all said and done. Jeremy, you are our son and our brother.

You are us.

All across the globe, we remember where we were when you dropped 38 vs. Kob’.

You awoke something in all of us Asian ballers and fans, so we’ll share your story with our kids while you continue to expand your legacy of justice:

Speaking out for what’s right. Every day, every night, helping us fight and feel seen.

So that to me, is what it means to be, the inspirational phenomenon we call “Linsanity.”

So yes, you did get it done as a global ambassador to the game. Leading your own path to fortune and fame, showing us anything is possible. Any endeavor.

If we just follow our hearts and don’t worry whether others believe in us. Because that’s inherently wrong, to let anyone decide for us whether we are strong.

So for anyone wondering why more employers won’t hire us, for anyone speaking out to say, “We are not the virus.”

We’ll keep our eyes on the prize, just like you. Trying to stay alive, striving to be the best at what we do.

So if you think you fell short of greatness, well Jeremy, you’re wrong. Because you helped millions of kids feel like they belong.

And now it’s up to us. It’s up to me. We’ll carry on your legacy.

We’ll keep spreading love and hope and empathy.

So even though things are tough and all the news and violence in this country has been scaring me… I just wanted to take a second to say, from the bottom of my heart,

Thank you, Jeremy.

About Jon Jacobson

NBA Content Writer and Multimedia Producer. Twitter: @Jon_NBA

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