Earlier this month, Jeremy Lin became the first Asian American to take home an NBA ring after the Toronto Raptors won the 2019 championship against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Since he only played 27 minutes in the postseason and mostly sat on the bench throughout the NBA Finals series, some began criticizing him online.
In a recent interview with YouTuber Ryan Higa in his “Off the Pill” podcast, Lin addressed comments from people who said he didn’t deserve the championship.
As a competitor “who has played my whole life, I’m not used to not playing,” he admitted that he “felt like I had to tell myself that I deserved a championship” at times.
He revealed that his mindset eventually changed upon reflecting on the “whole journey.”
“I contributed to the team, I played 23 games in the regular season, I play against these guys all the time, whether it’s in workouts or whatever,” Lin explained. “Not only that, but even watching the game, talking to guys, giving my opinion, or being a voice ― I think that’s very, very valuable.”
Lin shared that he prepares every day for the possibility that he’d be needed to play in the court.
“You sleep, eat and do everything like you’re going to play.”
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First Asian-American ever to be an NBA champ!! Promise Ill never stop reppin Asians with everything I have! GOD established my step after step after step, allowing me to be 9 inches taller and over 70 lbs more than my parents. And def wouldn’t be here without my FAMILY! While others mocked, my family supported me all the way through. Thanks for believing in me and always always having my back…miss you @joshlin33 @patriciaylin #Godsplan #asianinvasion Proverbs 16:3
He further explained how everyone involved in the team has a role in its win.
“I should enjoy and I should embrace it, and I’m not going to shy away from being able to celebrate that or let someone take that away from me,” he added.
In response to the criticism he received from fellow Asian Americans, Lin said he hopes they eventually appreciate his achievements sometime in the future.
“Hopefully those same Asians who are making fun of me, five years down the road, 10 years down the road, when I’m no longer playing, they can actually appreciate and be like, ‘Wow, that’s the first Asian American to win a championship,’” he said.
Watch the full interview below: