BEIJING (Reuters) - Former NBA star Jeremy Lin pledged up to $1 million to coronavirus relief efforts and said he had been pained by the treatment meted out to some of Asian-Americans in the United States.
Writing on The Players' Tribune website here, the former New York Knicks guard who sparked what became known as "Linsanity" in the 2012-13 NBA season, said he would be donating $500,000 and would also match donations up to an additional $500,000.
“One simple way to be the light is to support organisations doing crucial work during the crisis,” Lin said in his pledge.
Media in the United States have reported a surge in verbal and physical assaults on Asian-Americans following the outbreak of the virus which is believed to have originated in central China.
“You know, my whole life, I’ve been treated a certain way because I’m Asian,” said the Beijing Ducks point guard.
“During the height of ‘Linsanity,’ I was still the butt of many Asian jokes ... It was just words.
“But over the last few weeks, as the tension and anxiety in the U.S. has gone through the roof, we’re seeing that there’s a real darkness beneath the words. It’s not just trash talking or trolling or hateful speech.”
Lin is back in Beijing in anticipation of the resumption of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season, which had been suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Truth is, we have it in us to be the light, because there are already millions choosing to be the light every day,” Lin wrote.
“No one knows how devastating the impact of this crisis will be, but the projections aren’t good.
“We’re going to be recovering from this for a long time. But in the process, there will be so, so many opportunities to choose light.”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by David Holmes