Jeremy Lin has been a cultural phenomenon. His first stint in New York City was spent on the crest of a wave of insane popularity. Linsanity was so wild that it prompted an entire book to be about it. They made a movie about it. Heck, even writing about Lin these days feels a bit like juicing the stats because of how well he still does in SEO ranking some five years after his breakthrough debut.
Meanwhile, Lin has quietly developed into a useful backup, really rounding into shape with the Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets. Oh, and he has crazy hair.
That of course is the subject of most of the stories written about Lin these days, and today is no different. While previously Lin rocked stylish cuts like the full on mohawk, double braids, and mini-ponytail, the Nets PG has now moved in an entirely different direction. That’s right, he’s wearing dreadlocks.
Lin decided to write about his decision to get dreadlocks in The Players’ Tribune, talking about how he consulted with several people before rolling it out to make sure he wasn’t deviating into the realm of cultural appropriation.
Via The Players’ Tribune:
I still wasn’t sure. A recent conversation I had with Savannah Hart, a Nets staff member who’s African-American, really resonated with me. I told her about my thought process — how I was really unsure about getting dreads because I was worried I’d be appropriating black culture. She said that if it wasn’t my intention to be dismissive of another culture, then maybe it could be an opportunity to learn about that culture.
I took some time to think about it but still had reservations. I asked Rondae if he’d be willing to get dreads with me and he said, “Bro, I’ve been growing my hair out for you. Let’s do it.” So this weekend, Rondae and I got our hair dreaded — for eight hours straight.
At the beginning of this article, I said I wanted to hear what you think. I truly do.
Because honestly, I may be wrong here. Maybe one day I’ll look back and laugh at myself, or even cringe. I don’t have the answers. But I hope the thing you take away from what I’m writing is not that everyone should feel free to get braids or dreads — or that one gesture can smooth over the real misunderstandings that exist in our society around race and cultural identity. Not at all.
I really would recommend going over and reading the article from Lin, much of which I assume he wrote himself without the help of the ghostwriters over at The Players’ Tribune if only because it seems that so much of his personal voice shines through it. It’s thoughtful, and he admits that his decision to go with dreads could still be the wrong one from a social perspective.
He still doesn’t answer the main question of most people are asking however, and that’s whether his hair will be enough to compensate for having to watch the Nets for Brooklyn fans. Probably not.