Two hours after new minority owner Joe Tsai agreed with a Jeremy Lin fan that the Nets Twitter account had dissed Lin and his philanthropic efforts, the Nets apologized Sunday.
The controversy began last weekend when Rondae Hollis-Jefferson hurt himself at Lin’s “Hoops for Hope” event in Shenzhen, China. In addition to Lin, RHJ and Spencer Dinwiddie, Tsai also participated in the game.
When the Nets disclosed the extent of the injury midweek, their Twitter account referred to the game merely as an “exhibition” game, rather than an element of “Hoops for Hope.” Also last week, the Nets account tweeted out a photo of Hollis-Jefferson, Dinwiddie and Tsai, saying the “Nets family were out balling for a cause in China this past weekend,” again not mentioning Lin or his charity.
None of it sat well with Lin’s fans ... or Tsai.
Apologies for not calling out @JLin7 by handle. As you pointed out, our guys were in China to support Jeremy's philanthropic efforts there. We're thankful for him including our players/ownership; it was a great event.— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 12, 2018
Although Tsai was not mentioned in the Nets apology, two hours earlier he had agreed with a Lin fan expressing the same sentiments.
Well said @FaithHopeLoveJ7— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 12, 2018
Tsai retweeted the Nets apology.
In another tweet, Tsai had agreed with a Lin fan on the player’s importance beyond basketball. Tsai has called Lin a friend and “my favorite player,”
I agree 100% @linspiredinca. Once family, always family.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 11, 2018
Later, when Ben Nadeau of Basketball Insiders questioned the idea of an apology, Tsai tweeted again...
We played in a Jeremy Lin charity event at the invitation of @JLin7 Jeremy was a member of the Nets and is family to us. We missed it by not mentioning him, and we corrected the mistake. Got a problem with that?!— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) August 12, 2018
The night Lin was traded, Tsai tweeted out comments on how he had discussed Lin’s move to Atlanta with Sean Marks.
Sean Marks has kept me updated on our team's moves during this offseason. He and his team are doing terrific work to build the Nets for the long term. I love Jeremy Lin because he represents the underdog in all of us -- truly first class on and off the court.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) July 13, 2018
Jeremy is not only exciting to watch, he sets an example for perseverance and leadership. We are great friends, and I will follow his progress no matter where he is.— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) July 13, 2018
At the time of the July 12 trade, many Lin fans argued that their favorite had been caught unawares by the move. Marks said that he had told Lin of the possibility the morning of the deal, which turned into one of the Nets signature transactions of the off-season.
Ultimately, the Nets sent Lin, a second rounder in 2025 and the right to swap seconds in 2022 to the Hawks for the draft rights to Isaia Cordinier, a 21-year-old French guard, and a heavily protected second in 2020. That deal gave the Nets enough cap space to acquire a protected 2019 first rounder, an unprotected second in 2020, Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur from the Nuggets. The Nets subsequently flipped Arthur to the Suns for Jared Dudley and a lightly protected second in 2021.
Tsai has become more involved with the Nets on Twitter recently. As noted in the NetsDaily Off-Season Report, Tsai asked for and received a T-shirt from Nets fans that showed his silhouette going for a lay-up.
The executive vice chairman of Alibaba paid $1.1 billion for 49 percent of the Nets this spring with an option to take control of the franchise in 2021.
- Nets owner sides with Jeremy Lin fans over team in odd Twitter beef - Brian Lewis - New York Post