The Jeremy Lin vs. Kenyon Martin feud has taken a few bizarre twists and turns along the way, so let me catch you up to speed. All of this started after Jeremy Lin showed off his new hairstyle for the 2017-18 NBA season. Lin’s hair has been an NBA thing for a few seasons now. For whatever reasons, a lot of NBA fans are really into whatever Lin has going on upstairs.
This season’s ‘do: dreadlocks.
Lin was on the receiving end of some criticism for the new ‘do to the point where he thought it would be best to explain exactly where he was coming from, and what his intentions were. In an article for The Players’ Tribune, Lin responded:
I’ll be honest: At first I didn’t see the connection between my own hair and cultural appropriation. Growing up, I’d only ever picked from one or two hairstyles that were popular among my friends and family at the time. But as an Asian-American, I do know something about cultural appropriation. I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong. I know how much it bothers me when Hollywood relegates Asian people to token sidekicks, or worse, when it takes Asian stories and tells them without Asian people. I know how it feels when people don’t take the time to understand the people and history behind my culture. I’ve felt how hurtful it is when people reduce us to stereotypes of Bruce Lee or “shrimp fried rice.” It’s easy to brush some of these things off as “jokes,” but eventually they add up. And the full effect of them can make you feel like you’re worth less than others, and that your voice matters less than others.
So of course, I never want to do that to another culture.
From there, this story kind of spiraled out of control. Kenyon Martin called out Lin for “trying to be black.” This prompted Lin to drop a subtle dig at Martin in an Instagram post. “At the end of the day I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos (because) I think it’s a sign of respect,” he And I think as minorities, the more we appreciate each others’ cultures, the more we influence mainstream society.” For reference, here’s a picture of the tattoos Jeremy Lin is talking about.
If you’re thinking boy, we really lost sight of the original talking points here, you’d be absolutely right. Some of Lin’s fans directed racist comments towards Martin on social media, and Lin quick condemned this behavior, but we went from what could have a been a decent public conversation about the challenges and issues with cultural appropriation to a back-and-forth between a guy who hasn’t been in the NBA since 2015 and the Brooklyn Nets’ maybe starting, maybe backup point guard.
Regardless of where we were, it sounds like Lin and Martin are in a good place now. After the Nets defeated the Knicks at the in Brooklyn on Sunday night, Lin told the media in New York that the beef is squashed. Transcript via Nets Daily:
“He reached out and he was extremely apologetic … it was a great conversation,” Lin told reporters. “I think things were blown out of proportion, taken a little out of context as well. But me and him had a discussion where he was extremely courteous.
“Like, I’m actually impressed with how he handled everything. I’m thankful for the conversation we had and I’m also sorry for some of the things he and his son kind of had to deal with in the aftermath,” he added, referring to some ugly racist comments directed at Martin by some Lin fans.
“I’m just processing everything that’s happening and kind of felt he was dehumanized to some degree. I wish it didn’t happen like that, but we’re beyond that and hopefully I don’t have to speak about this incident or my hair anymore.”
I think we’re all in agreement with Jeremy Lin here. Hopefully, we don’t have to speak about this incident, or his hair anymore.