Jeremy Lin wanted to get some feedback on his dreadlocks, and Kenyon Martin went ahead and gave it to him. The former NBA player lashed out at Lin in a video earlier this week after Lin debuted his new hairstyle and addressed cultural appropriation in a post on The Players’ Tribune.
Martin said Lin wanted to “be black” by sporting the look.
“Do I need to remind this boy his last name Lin?” Martin asked. “Like, come on man. Let’s stop it with these people. There is no way possible he would’ve made it on one of our teams with that bullsh*t on his head. Come on man, somebody need to tell him, like, ‘alright bro, we get it. You wanna be black.’ Like, we get it. But your last name is Lin.’
Lin posted a response to Martin on Instagram on Thursday, and it was respectfully brutal.
“Hey man. It’s all good you don’t have to like my hair and definitely entitled to your opinion,” Lin said. “Actually I legit grateful you sharin it.”
Lin then pulls off one of the greater, slower burns of the Instagram era.
“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.
Lin doesn’t stop there, though. He also throws in the “had your poster” line to finish the comment out.
“Thanks for everything you did for the Nets and hoops,” Lin said. “Had your poster up on my wall growin up.”
Lin was respectful and also brutal in his response, because it does expose a pretty interesting double standard. Martin posted a second video that essentially said he was joking about his initial response.
“That man grown, that man can rock whatever hairstyle he want to rock,” said Martin, “That don’t mean I have to like it or agree with it.”
Martin didn’t address his tattoos, but it seems like this brief feud is at an end now. Especially now that Lin further clarified his comments. After Brooklyn’s preseason game on Thursday, Lin spoke more extensively about the incident and said he doesn’t want people making it a Martin vs. Lin thing and take sides.
It’s kind of funny that he retweeted his comments with a series of exclamation points, but Lin once again has a good point.
First I’d hope that a lot of Asian fans don’t go on his page and say racist things to him. I think that’s not the right way to go about it,” Lin said. “‘I won versus Kenyon Martin winning,’” Lin said. I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it It’s not really about winning or losing. the whole point is that we’e trying to be unified so I feel like even sometimes when people come to me and say, ‘Oh man you embarrassed him.’ It’s like, ‘dude that’s not what this is about.”
Lin said the important thing is that we learn from the incident, and maybe what he does with his hair and how he handles this can change perspectives moving forward.
“At the end of the day, he said the he said, but I’m not really that offended,” he said. If that’s how he thinks, that’s how he thinks. My job is to be gracious and loving. I think if I can share a little bit of my side, then the next time he might have a different viewpoint.”
Lin doesn’t want anyone to take sides here, but it’s clear that he’s got a firm handle on what he’s trying to achieve here, and he’s spoken eloquently about the issue multiple times now. It’s hard not to think he’s winning here.