jeremy lin-kenyon martin

On Tuesday, The Players Tribune published an essay from Jeremy Lin explaining why he now has dreadlocks. The Asian-American point guard knew his hairstyle would be controversial but thought about it carefully, educated himself about cultural appropriation and decided to go for it.

Despite Lin’s relative self-awareness, some people were not happy to see a non-black person wearing a traditionally black hair style. Among his critics was former NBA forward Kenyon Martin, who asked, “Do I need to remind this boy his last name Lin?” then suggested that Lin fashioned his hair into dreadlocks because he wanted to be black.

Well Lin got word of Martin’s response and responded quite diplomatically—while also gently pointing out that Martin himself was appropriating another culture on his body.

Cultural appropriation is a complex and controversial subject that often resists easy answers. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Lin deserves criticism for wearing dreadlocks.

Here is how Lin ended his Players Tribune essay:

Again, 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.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this … now I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment or question on any of my social media platforms.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.