Earlier this week, Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin published a thoughtful essay in the Players’ Tribune on his decision to get dreadlocks. “[A]s an Asian-American, I do know something about cultural appropriation,” he wrote. “I know what it feels like when people get my culture wrong.” He continued: “I may not have gotten it right with my idea to get dreads. But I hope that this is a start, not an end, to more dialogue about our differences. We need more empathy, more compassion and less judgment. That takes actual work and communication. So let’s start now—please join me.”
Former NBA player Kenyon Martin could not resist this invitation to engage in an open and honest dialogue.
As the blog Nets Daily noted, Martin continued the conversation via a video that included such insights as “Do I need to remind this damn boy his last name Lin?” and “Somebody need to tell him, like, ‘Alright bro, we get it. You wanna be black.’ ”
Lin, evincing empathy and compassion and the ability to deliver burns that are all the more scorching on account of said empathy and compassion, informed his Nets forebear via Instagram comment that it was “all good” and that he was “legit grateful” to Martin for sharing his opinion. “At the end of the day,” he wrote, cocking his arm back in preparation for a Dominique-Wilkins-in-the-dunk-contest-in-the-mid-1980s-but-somehow-both-gentler-and-nastier windmill slam, “I appreciate that I have dreads and you have Chinese tattoos bc I think it’s a sign of respect.”
Jeremy Lin and the Nets begin the regular season on Oct. 18 against the Indiana Pacers. Kenyon Martin is now dead.
Update, Oct. 6, 2017, at 12 a.m.: Jeremy Lin has shared additional thoughts on his roasting of Kenyon Martin. They are characteristically thoughtful and, yes, respectful.