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It’s been a decade since the emergence of “linsanidad”. when a then relatively unknown jeremy lin took the nba by storm.
Ten years later, he’s a cultural icon, a standard-bearer for the Asian-American community, with a worldwide following. and he can also boast of being an nba champion.
Reading: Where is jeremy lin now
lin’s journey is well documented. he had to get to the nba the hard way after going undrafted, overcoming stereotypes and fighting racism to get to where he is today. A documentary reviving “sanity” recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Much has been written on the history of Jeremy Lin. but the blank canvas that is the next chapter? that’s what really excites him.
“As I get older and get closer to retirement, one thing that really matters to me is this concept of redefining love,” Lin told ESPN.
“Basically, when people ask me what I want to have achieved when my time on earth is done, one of the most important things is that I want to be able to say that I redefined love for the next generation.
“There’s a feeling that the world is really divisive right now. There’s a lot of hostility, finger pointing and name calling. I just want to be able to create a more unified world based on empathy.”
how does lin intend to achieve that? well, it’s already started.
lin was recently introduced as the first global brand ambassador for lingoace, a global education technology company headquartered in singapore.
At a time when there has been a rise in violence and negative attitudes towards the Asian-American community, Lin insists that being exposed to different languages and cultures will contribute to a greater understanding of different perspectives, and it can only lead to greater empathy.
Now 33, Lin is refreshingly realistic and aware that his time as a professional basketball player will soon come to an end.
He is already preparing for future projects that relate to his goals and mantra of spreading love and creating opportunities, such as his partnership with lingoace. in his own words: “business forever”.
“On one hand, you look at the violence and everything that’s going on…in some ways, this is what many call the worst time to be Asian-American in recent history,” he said, when asked if he felt the attitude towards Asian Americans has changed since he burst onto the scene in 2012.
“On the other hand, companies like lingoace give me a lot of hope. I think people are starting to be more open to learning the Chinese language and more accepting of Chinese or Asian culture, or Asian-Americans.
“there is this huge dichotomy when you juxtapose the two: you end up not really knowing what to think. I would say that both truths can exist, that there is a lot of evil and harm but there is also improvement. at the same time.”
jeremy lin is completely comfortable with his identity. now.
is proud of his heritage. stands tall (especially tall at 6-foot-3) for the Asian-American community.
It wasn’t always this natural.
recalling a national tournament in florida when he was representing northern california, lin recounted, “i remember when i came out, people called me ‘yao ming’ and other names, and i was so embarrassed.
“My whole face turned red and I kept my head down and tried to walk as fast as I could. I was the only Asian there.”
“i think about that and i wish i had kept my head up. and when they called me ‘yao ming’ i said ‘no, my name is jeremy lin’.
“I wish I had stood up and carried myself with pride, instead of letting everything external make me shrink and become small.”
“I’m comfortable in my skin today, but I probably haven’t spent most of my life. the fact that everyone else has an opinion and a narrative about who I am, and everyone wants to tell me who I am, sometimes I don’t. I don’t even know who I am.
“Ultimately, where I am today, I know where my grandparents and parents were born and raised, I know where I was born and raised, and I’m proud of everything that makes me ‘me,’ and don’t try to hide from him.
“I just want to be myself and I hope that’s how everyone evolves. As we get older, you become more and more proud of who you are.”
not shying away from your culture has also allowed you to share it with others and allow them to have a greater appreciation of something that may have initially seemed foreign to them.
“When I went on my trips to Asia, I always brought one of my NBA teammates: David Lee, Steve Novak, Landryfields, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dimwiddie,” he added.
“as they leave, they talk about this trip to asia as one of the highlights of their lives and how it was the best of their lives.
“when we are proud and show our culture, other people have the opportunity to embrace it, soak it up and enjoy the beauty of the culture.”
a game changer. a pioneer. Jeremy Lin left an indelible mark on the NBA.
a decade after “linsanity”, as he is aware that he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, can lin really appreciate what he achieved?
“I don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand what it meant to the game. period. I think to some extent, it’s fine,” he mused.
“it makes no sense to say ‘I’ve figured it all out, I know what I meant to people.’ and stay on that path, I’m very happy.
“That’s really the beautiful thing about it. People think that athletes and celebrities bring a gift to the world and it’s one-sided, and that’s actually not true.”
“We bring our gifts and talents, we encourage and inspire people, but because of what we did, they go and pursue their own dreams and do things for the next generation.”
“That’s what humanity is all about. We’re in this together, learning from each other, helping each other, and that’s the beauty of it.”
Through his work off the pitch, including his association with Lingoace, Lin is eager to play his part in helping the next generation, particularly those who may have fewer opportunities, reach their full potential.
touchingly, doing just that is what he believes will make him reach his full potential. not as jeremy lin, the basketball player and nba champion, but as jeremy lin, a human being who redefines love.
“Essentially, I want to make a systemic change that is centered around love,” Lin said.
“what would it mean to redefine love within the philanthropy industry? what if donors gave in a way that actually served nonprofits? what would it look like if we brought education (educational technology) from high quality- to a lot of places that wouldn’t normally have this access?
“is that a form of love? I absolutely think it’s a tremendous form of love.
“Here I am being a world-class basketball player because someone put a ball in my hands. Imagine if I never had access to basketball, how different would my life be?
“Can we give a lot of children an education where, if they had that education, they would become something they never thought they could become?
“that’s what I see as the most complete version of myself: helping the next generation become their most complete version.”