The Toronto Raptors’ Jeremy Lin has responded to critics who feel he didn’t deserve a championship after his team’s NBA Finals win earlier this month.
The point guard, who played 27 minutes in the postseason with one minute in the finals, joined the “Off the Pill” podcast to address his haters after he made history as the first Asian American to take home an NBA ring.
Lin admitted that there were times he “felt like I had to tell myself that I deserved a championship,” adding that as a competitor “who has played my whole life, I’m not used to not playing.” However, while the finals proved tough, he said his mindset changed when he began to reflect 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 said on the podcast. “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 also added that he put in a significant amount of work every day, preparing for the possibility he’d be called onto the court in the finals.
“You sleep, eat and do everything like you’re going to play.”
He added that everyone involved with the team has a role in its win, citing assistant coaches and others who may not be in the spotlight as examples.
“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 said of his elation at the team’s victory.
With criticism coming from all sides, including from some Asian Americans, Lin said he realizes many do not appreciate the achievements of trailblazers until after their careers are over.
“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.