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Jeremy Lin Reveals He Still Struggles With Being Asian in NBA

Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin goes up to the basket during the 2015 NBA Global Games against Los Angeles Clippers in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, October 11, 2015.
Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin goes up to the basket during the 2015 NBA Global Games against Los Angeles Clippers in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, October 11, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)

After six seasons playing in the NBA, Jeremy Lin admits that there are still some struggles associated with being an Asian-American basketball player.

"Just the other night in Brooklyn, I was trying to leave [Barclays Center] and one of the ladies was like, 'Hey, I need your credentials for you to pass.' And then someone else was like, 'Oh, he's a player,'" the 27-year-old Charlotte Hornets point guard recalled to ESPN. "I'm used to it by now. It's just part of being Asian in the NBA."

For Lin, the unfortunate occurances are just a part of his life in the big leagues where Asian Americans are the minority.

"It's one of those things where it literally happens everywhere," Lin said. "At opposing arenas, it happens all the time."

Lin has become more than just the face for Asians in the NBA, but also in the world. Last year, he took part in a White House public campaign called "Act To Change." The campaign focus on the bullying of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

"For me, growing up Asian American and trying to play basketball was a bit tough at times. Sometimes people would make fun of me and just say, 'oh you're Yao Ming,'" the NBA player recalled in a YouTube video. "That's not that bad but sometimes it would get worst and people would say, 'you're a chinese import' or 'go back to china' or 'can you see the scoreboard with your eyes.' And then sometimes it got really ridiculous."

Lin said people have called him other inappropriate racial terms, and the usually mild-mannered basketball player admitted to even getting upset and lashing out at times.

"I remember one time I got really upset, kind of lost control and just responded really negatively. My coach told me after the game, 'Jeremy, when people say that to you they're trying to get in your head,'" Lin recalled. "Honestly the best thing to do is take that negative energy and turn it into positive energy. Fuel yourself, motivate yourself with that. Don't react in anger."

The Christian point guard decided to share lessons he learned from being bullied and impart his wisdom on others in an article posted on the Newsela website, an online community that helps students develop their reading and comprehension skills by reading non-fiction articles.

"My lesson that I learned and if there is anything I can pass on to you guys is a lot of times bullies bully other people because of insecurities they have in themselves. Don't let anyone else tell you who you are or what you can or can't do," he advised. "Definitely look inside yourself, have confidence in yourself, believe in yourself and understand what makes you such a unique and special person.Everybody has different and really cool characteristics and talents."

According to Lin, people can become stronger after surviving being bullied.

"Never lose sight of that and just always stay positive and hopefully one day you'll take a look back at these experiences and realize, 'hey me getting bullied or me having to go through these experiences only made me stronger," he said.

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