Jeremy Lin is taking on Lavar Ball following the outspoken father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball’s latest verbal assault.
“Bro…Lavar Balls statement wrong on so many levels,” Lin recently tweeted after Ball charged his son’s NCAA title hopes were dashed largely because the Bruins’ star had too many non-black teammates to carry.
Ball recently claimed his son suffered a hamstring injury during UCLA’s season-ending loss to Kentucky, adding “realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed it too slow.”
He has since tried to walk back the sting of those comments, which appeared to be aimed at fellow Bruins’ TL Leaf, Thomas Welsh, and Bryce Alford.
“I am not saying I don’t like the white guys and we lost because of them,” he told ESPN. “That’s how they twisted it up. They’re going to do their thing and we’re going to do our thing. So don’t wear your feelings on your sleeve and think it’s a direct punch at you guys, because it’s not.”
Lin knows the burn of being counted out before the game even starts all too well, all because of who you’re perceived to be based on what you look like.
“There’s gonna be racism everywhere I go, and some of it’s more subtle, some of it’s less malicious,” he previously told the New York Post. “I mean, every day there’s guys with certain stereotypes or whatever, and it’s not just me. But yeah, I still going through it.”
Lin tells the story of how, until recently, he was still getting stopped and asked for credentials while he walked through NBA arenas.
Then there was all the talk of Lin not getting all the calls he should, especially flagrant foul calls for what could be considered hard fouls.
“I just keep playing, and I just keep attacking the basket,” said Lin. “Does race have anything to do with that? I have no idea, I really don’t.”
Still, Lin insists it’s the blatant stereotypes, like the ones uttered by Ball, that bother him the most.
“I feel like when people say I can’t play defense or something like that, if you look at the numbers, or if you look at things I’ve been able to do … people just assume like, “Oh, I’m not that quick,” or “Oh, I can’t jump that high,” whatever,” he said.
Lin backed up his words by pointing out that he’s previously ranked near the top in the league among point guards in blocks per minute.
“People don’t see me as a great shot-blocking guard partially because they look at me, and they’re like, ‘There’s no way he could be.’ Just a lot of the old stereotypes, like ‘He can’t go left,’ or, ‘He turns the ball over.’ I feel like a lot of times when I see what’s going on, I feel like people are just trying to describe what they remember from me as a player years ago.”
Meanwhile, Ball has defended all his often-outlandish talk by arguing he’s simply building the family brand.
“This is about my boys trying to be the best players ever,” he said of Lonzo and younger brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo. “I’ve been telling them since they were little kids — sports is not pressure, it’s just entertainment. You have to have a great time doing it.”
That certainly appears to be the case for the elder Ball, who in addition to the UCLA talk, has made headlines by favorably comparing Lonzo to everyone from two-time reigning MVP Steph Curry and legendary Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
[Featured Image by Michael Reaves/Getty Images]