Jeremy Lin is arguably the biggest sports star right now within the Asian community. Ever since his epic Linsanity run in 2011, Lin has built up quite a fan base all over the world.
Lin’s success has also been relatively lucrative for him. Excluding endorsements, he made $14.9 million in the NBA 2014-15 season alone, according to Forbes.
But it wasn’t always like this for Lin. Apart from struggling for years in the NBA before his big break, he also came from really humble beginnings.
During a Q & A session at this year’s New Yorker Festival, Lin talked about the time he was finishing school in Harvard and about to go through the NBA Draft. He recounted how his parents got laid off from their jobs and he didn’t have enough money for food.
“I wasn’t really eating that much cause I was trying to save money for my parents. I was eating at Subway everyday — $5 footlong at the time. I eat a lot so I would get two of those sandwiches. My mom knew I wasn’t eating until I was full.” he said.
His mother then asked him what he wanted to do after graduation, to which he replied, “I want to go to try to play basketball.”
Then, his mother did something not many immigrant families would do. She agreed to support Lin for two years. After two years, if things don’t work out, Lin would be on his own.
“She was like ‘I don’t want you to be half full, you’re training. I want you to be full.'” Lin said.
However, at the time, Lin didn’t know where his mother was getting the money. Turns out, she took money out of her 401K to make sure Lin had enough money to go through the NBA draft.
“I didn’t know this until recently.” Lin said. I don’t know a lot of parents that would do that — especially Asian immigrant parents. So when I think about my parents and what they’ve done for me — the level of support and love they’ve given me to do something that was so unconventional is a big reason I was able to pursue [my dreams].”