The Charlotte Hornets may be in the running to surge past the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat in their bid to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers as the kings of the Eastern Conference, but some members of its roster have yet to experience the benefits of fame. Despite being hailed as one of the major driving forces of the Kemba Walker team, former Los Angeles Lakers star Jeremy Lin still deals with discrimination in the league. Unlike his teammates, the Linsanity reportedly gets no recognition or respect from the NBA.
Lin recently revealed that he is still blocked by guards of the NBA facilities he uses. Even before and after basketball matches, the former New York Knicks star encounters league staff who demand his ID. According to Lin, he constantly deals with guards checking his credentials before allowing him to pass. For a player who has received praises from the likes of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden, this kind of treatment might be unacceptable. However, it looks like Lin is choosing to simply shrug off the issue.
"It's one of those things where it literally happens everywhere," shared Lin. The Charlotte Hornets star added, "At opposing arenas, it happens all the time. Just the other night in Brooklyn, I was trying to leave (Barclays Center) and one of the ladies was like, 'Hey, I need your credentials for you to pass.' And then someone else was like, 'Oh, he's a player. He's good.' I'm used to it by now. It's just part of being Asian in the NBA."
Instead of making a big deal of the issue, Lin opts to search for ways to boost the chances of the Charlotte Hornets to be part of the NBA playoffs. The recent performance of the team against the San Antonio Spurs and the Brooklyn Nets further encouraged the team to play harder for a possible shot at unseating LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love as the top dogs in the Eastern Conference.
"We were just talking about it the other day -- at one point, we were like 17-20 and going through that rough stretch with two January trips out west," reminisced Lin following their back to back victories earlier this week. He added, "But I remember us at that point, and we were kind of like, 'Hey, it's got to be now or never. We know what we're capable of ... we really have to lock in now.' And now, we're like at 40 wins."
For Walker, the recent wins under their belt reinforced their confidence that they can still stand out this NBA season. He shared that Lin, Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb definitely helped the Charlotte Hornets in terms of distributing the workload. Moreover, the Linsanity has become a reliable teammate throughout the season especially when Walker was out due to injuries.
"At times, it looked bleak and we were struggling," Lin told ESPN.com. "But we always felt, on paper, if we do this right, if we buy in, if guys get healthy and stay healthy, we have a chance ... that we belong in the top tier of the East. From the outside ... no one thought we were going to be any good. Whether we're changing that opinion or not, I don't know. But on the inside, we always felt we could make noise."
"It feels good, man," shared Walker. "We've worked our way all the way back to get to this point. It's been a long road. Guys were unhealthy and it was just a really bad losing streak earlier in the season. For us to be back, it's pretty impressive. Bringing in Nic, Jeremy Lamb, Jeremy Lin, just guys who can make plays, it's really important we have guys like that. It just takes so much pressure off myself."
Meanwhile, Steve Clifford feels that the Charlotte Hornets are meshing well together. To be more specific, the head coach noted that the ball movement in the hardwood court has improved. That is, the Charlotte Hornets players are becoming more "unselfish" in the games.
Clifford shared, "I'd say our ball movement has been the biggest thing. Our ball movement starts when the guys that you are playing through are unselfish. Those guys are willing to make the right play. When your best players move the ball, it becomes contagious."
Speaking of the recent games, Walker described Lin as "phenomenal" while Clifford called the Asian star the "catalyst" in the improving performance of the Charlotte Hornets.