NBA drama? Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin alluded to former New York Knicks teammate J.R. Smith after being asked about possible instigators of racial issues on the Boomer & Carton radio show Wednesday morning.
Lin, a Taiwanese American six-year veteran of the NBA who inked a 3-year, $36 million deal with Nets during this offseason, was asked by co-host Craig Carton about racial issues during his time as a member of the Knicks. He was addressing, namely, a rumor going around about Smith “not accepting him as a ballplayer” because of his race.
“I’ve never spoken to J.R. about it,” Lin said on the show. “The one thing I will say is that race has been a huge part of my journey ever since I was a child trying to play basketball.”
“Linsanity wouldn’t have happened if I was white, or black, or whatever. Part of the reason why it was so crazy is because I’m Asian,” he continued. “I think race plays a part into it, always has, and to what degree or how much to who felt what, I can’t specifically answer.”
About an hour of the show, Smith – a recent NBA champion known for his history of controversial on- and-off-court tactics – took to Twitter to deny the allegations about how he discriminated against Lin during their year together as teammates in 2011 to 2012.
Don’t ever in your life try an play me as racist. For someone who grew up where I did I know a little thing about it an it’s never ok!
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) October 19, 2016
“I never want to entertain this topic but whoever said I am or was racist to [Lin] because he was Asian is wrong on so many levels!” Smith tweeted.
Lin is set to debut as the Nets’ starting point guard during the season opener on Oct. 26.