Jeremy Lin Recalls Mom's Sacrifice for His Basketball Dream

Photo: (Photo : Getty Images: Matthew Stockman / Staff)

NBA star Jeremy Lin reflects on how his mother secretly assisted him in bringing "Linsanity" to the league.

The 32-year-old and single basketball champ Jeremy Lin was only trying to make his hoop dreams come true long before making a name for himself in the NBA and ushered in the age of "Linsanity" on the court. And he proudly shared that he couldn't have done it without his mother's extraordinary sacrifice.

Jeremy Lin visited one of the famous long-running TV shows in the country, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," on Tuesday, April 6, for an interview. He spoke about the sacrifices of his parents' journeys that began before he was born and made to get him to where he is now.

Lin also shared that his parents had a tough life trying to learn the English language, given that they are both Asian. But lo and behold, they made the best of the situation, marrying and beginning a family of their own. 

In the 1970s, his father, Gie-Ming, met Shirley, a fellow Taiwanese emigrant, at Old Dominion University in Virginia, after arriving in the United States. He narrated to his relatives that his father's siblings in Taiwan all dropped out of school and went straight to get jobs.

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Still, even as things changed, they never became easy. They also had their fair share of discrimination. "We were playing in a basketball game when I was in sixth grade, and we were playing against some people from Southern California," the 32-year-old said to DeGeneres.

"That's when they were like, 'Go back to China!'" says the narrator. You're a Chinese import,' and other nonsense. On the stand, I still felt like it didn't matter - that color didn't matter, that skin didn't matter. It was all about who could and couldn't play. I was taken aback and said to myself, "Oh, wow." Even during a basketball game, people still look at me differently.'   

Unfortunately, the recent increase in hate crimes and lethal violence against the AAPI group members has only served as a reminder that many people still see and behave through the racist prism. Lin, on the other hand, is still hopeful about the future of Asian Americans.

Jeremy Lin combines "understanding what we're up against" with "the hope of seeing so many people genuinely mobilizing" to make a difference, amid the "systemic and multigenerational" obstacles that contribute to the anti-Asian hatred that the world is experiencing.

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Linsanity: A Basketball Journey

"The craziest story is that after I graduated from Harvard, I decided to try a professional basketball career," Lin explained. "At the moment, my mother realized I wasn't eating until I was complete because I was trying to save money for us - tuition and all." But his mother couldn't stand it any longer.

I'm going to give you two years to pursue your basketball dreams, she said. Don't be concerned about money. He remembered her saying, "I've got some money."

The encouragement gave him the push he needed to realize his dream of being a basketball superstar. However, he was unaware of the whole story behind the raise.

She didn't tell me until recently that the money came from her 401(k). She didn't tell me at the time because she feared I wouldn't consider it or because she was a wonderful mother. That was just a little peek into my parents' struggle to have a chance for my brothers and me."

READ MORE: Viral Video: Dad Regrets Blocking His Son's Shots to Shoot a Ball

"We were playing in a basketball game when I was in sixth grade, and we were playing against some people from Southern California," the 32-year-old said to DeGeneres. "That's when they were like, 'Go back to China!'" says the narrator. You're a Chinese import,' and other nonsense.

On the stand, I still felt like it didn't matter - that color didn't matter, that skin didn't matter. It was all about who could and couldn't play. I was taken aback and said to myself, "Oh, wow." Even during a basketball game, people still look at me differently.'   

Unfortunately, the recent increase in hate crimes and lethal violence against the AAPI group members has only served as a reminder that many people still see and behave through the racist prism. Lin, on the other hand, is still hopeful about the future of Asian Americans.

Lin combines "understanding what we're up against" with "the hope of seeing so many people genuinely mobilizing" to make a difference, amid the "systemic and multigenerational" obstacles that contribute to the anti-Asian hatred that the world is experiencing.

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