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Basketball player who called Jeremy Lin ‘coronavirus’ identified

“Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court,” Lin wrote in a Facebook post about the incident.
Austin Spurs v Santa Cruz Warriors
Jeremy Lin, No. 7 of the Santa Cruz Warriors, handles the ball against the Austin Spurs at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28.Juan Ocampo / NBAE via Getty Images file

The NBA G League has identified the basketball player who called Jeremy Lin “coronavirus.”

After investigating the comment, the G League — the official minor league of the NBA — said the matter is being dealt with internally and with Lin’s support.

“We’re handling this matter internally, a decision supported by Jeremy Lin. Lin has met with the player to discuss the escalating racism and violence toward Asian Americans, and the player understands the impact that hearing his comment had on Lin,” a league spokesperson said in a statement to NBC Asian America.

Lin, who is Taiwanese American and plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors (the Golden State Warriors’ G League affiliate), first shared the incident on social media last month in a post that expressed his frustrations about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and racism.

“Being a 9 year NBA veteran doesn't protect me from being called ‘coronavirus’ on the court,” Lin wrote in a Facebook post.

Lin elaborated on the incident during “The Racism Virus,” an NBC News virtual town hall that discussed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

“I wrestled with whether to talk about it, whether to bring it up and things like that,” Lin said. “That's verbal and that’s something that happened to me on the court, but I think what I'm trying to do is bring awareness to what is happening off the court, to people, to the elderly, to important people that we love and in our community.”

He also shared early memories of being discriminated against for his race. The basketball player shared how he was told to “go back to China” and asked in college if he “could see the scoreboard with those eyes.”

Lin also recalled how, in one crucial college game, he played terribly and “lost control” after being called a slur repeatedly.

“That’s when I realized my assistant coach at the time, Kenny Blakeney, he explained to me his experiences as an African American trying to play at Duke and what that was like,” Lin said. “For me, it just really challenged my perspective to see that when people come in and they say those things, they're trying to get you out of your element.”

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