Former NBA point guard Jeremy Lin is launching a basketball school with the aim of motivating the next generation of young ballers of Asian descent.
Lin returned to the Toronto area — home of the Raptors, with whom he won the 2019 NBA championship — to make the announcement at a local basketball clinic this past weekend. Lin, who partnered with the Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association, will be opening several programs in Toronto later this year.
The school will serve children ages 3 to 16, according to the Toronto Star.
The point guard, who made history as the first player of Taiwanese descent in the NBA, said he hopes the program, aimed at those of Asian descent, can inspire more kids to be proud of their identities.
“I’m passionate about players becoming better at basketball but I’m also probably even more passionate about Asian American kids growing up with confidence, with self-esteem, being proud to be Asian, which was something that I wasn’t growing up,” Lin told The Raptors Show.
The basketball school aims to teach values and lessons that are applicable both on and off the court, according to a social media post from the Canadian Chinese Youth Athletic Association. And Lin told the Raptors Show that the curriculum will include everything from shooting hoops to character development and communication.
Lin’s announcement follows the 10-year anniversary of his meteoric ascent across more than two dozen games in the 2012 NBA season known as “Linsanity.” The point guard previously told NBC Asian America that while the moment triggered a palpable movement of pride among the Asian diaspora, his one “big regret” is not having doing more to advocate for the community that stood firmly behind him.
“I was just so focused on playing well in the next game, I wasn’t so tuned into what everybody else was saying,” he had said. “There was a lack of understanding of what that moment meant and I feel like, because of that … I wasn’t able to say more and do more with my platform off the court that I wish I could have done and should have done.”
Lin said that much of his understanding of identity was framed by experiences he had in his early years. There were times when fans would hurl insults about his eyes or shout names of Chinese takeout dishes at him during games.
“I just wanted to be recognized for being a great basketball player. I was so tired of, from literally age 8 until Linsanity, it was always, ‘Oh, he’s a good basketball player, but he’s Asian.’ … And so I was trying to run from that tag,” he said.
But Lin told the Star that while he may not have fully grasped his reach in the past, he’s committed to using the platform to uplift the community now.
“Maybe I could have done more and should have done more, but now I am trying to do more,” he said. “I think this school is a part of it.”