A couple of days before the new National Basketball Association (NBA) season debuts, things are heating up for Brooklyn Nets newbie Jeremy Lin outside of the court as the 28-year-old got entangled with his former New York Knicks teammates.
In a recent guest appearance on radio station WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton Show,” Lin was asked about the brewing controversy that he was subjected to racism during his time with the team and at the height of Linsanity. The controversy gained steam earlier this year when former Knicks teammate Amar’e Stoudemire and ex-coach Mike D’Antoni insinuated that the likes of Carmelo Anthony were particularly hard on Lin as they were jealous of him. However, host Craig Carton specifically cited J.R. Smith as being part of the bullying bunch to which Lin admitted that he has never spoken to Smith about the issue.
“I’ve never spoken to J.R. about it. I’ve never spoken to whoever else you might think about it. So, it’s hard for me because I don’t want come out and speculate,” Lin said. “The one thing I will say is that race has been a huge part of my journey ever since I was a child trying to play basketball. So, I do think there was always that type of component that would be involved, but again as I’ve always said, it’s a double-edged sword. It comes with the good; it comes with the bad.”
Smith, for his part, addressed the buzz via his official social media account. In a series of tweets, he vehemently denied the accusations and even pointed out the fact that he was there to support his former teammate while Linsanity was going on. The now Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard/power forward also didn’t want to be painted as a racist as he understands the gravity of the matter.
Despite not being dragged into the discrimination issue, Anthony seemed to have inadvertently included himself in the chaos when he commented about Lin being the franchise player of the Nets. The New York Daily News caught up with the Knicks player last Friday and while his statement may have been laced with different things it did end with him being happy for where Lin has landed.
Appearing to be nonchalant about the media circus resulting from Anthony’s interview, Lin reiterated that he is with coach Kenny Atkinson and the Nets because he has a role to play in the squad.
“We want to do this thing together and that’s what we signed up for. … We know it’s going to be up to us as a team to have to get it done,” the point guard explained. “So I’m not worried about ‘the franchise,’ I’m not worried about what people on the outside are saying, I’m not really worried about any of it, to be honest. I really wasn’t even aware of it and I would never have known anything about it if it hadn’t been brought to my attention.”
Catch Lin and Atkinson in their debut performance with the Brooklyn Nets as they go up against the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 2, 7: 30 p.m. ET.