The past couple of weeks have been two of the blackest in NBA history. An owner who is supposed to be an adult and the kept to a higher standard then his players, made unforgivable and biased statements.
I looked up two definitions. The words I sought are liberally bantered about. They are
“Racist and Bigot”.
Now, I believe my readers are erudite. However, all of us take some commonly used words for granted. To put everything in perspective, the definition of those two words are:
A Racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. While a Bigot is someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, disgust or hatred on the basis of a person’s ethnicity, evaluative orientation, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation. Disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.
Wow! That’s a mouthful!
But I feel it completely covers the awful statements uttered by Donald Sterling, the current owner of the L.A. Clippers. As distasteful as it was, he should have known better.
However, a review of his public record and business dealings over the years indicated he was expressing exactly how he felt. Unfortunately, it came about in a privately taped conversation. As a result, the hew and cry from the public horrified by his utterings as righteous as they might be is different than how the courts might view what he did and how he should be treated.
Based on what this reporter has read, his punishment should be severe enough that he is hurt beyond belief in the two places he obviously holds most dear… his ego and his pocketbook.
Nevertheless, some of the radical statements as to what came about as a result have been just as ridiculous and without merit. Although unlike what Sterling said, they are not slanderous. Such as the statement by some players calling for an “All Black League”.
Any league, to be the best, must be manned by the finest talent who can only be determined through competition… be they white, black, yellow, or brown.
Let me put in context who I am. In that way, you can better understand where I am coming from.
I have been a professional in sports and entertainment for over 60 years… reporting, owning and managing teams, also as an official and a coach. Thanks to people of all persuasions, I have earned a more than adequate living.
Which in itself is amazing!
I am the son of immigrants and I was brought up during the “Great Depression”. No one had jobs, but many worked for government industries created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Instead of collecting a paycheck for doing nothing, they worked for the WPA (The Works Projects Administration), or the CCC (The Civilian Conservation Corps). In such a way, a great highway system, Dams. Civic buildings Railways and many more necessities for a good life were built.
I am proud to say I was on Sugar Ray Robinson’s Board for underprivileged children. To me, perhaps the greatest bound-for-bound fighter of all time… he was black, but he helped everyone no matter what his or her color might be.
My dear departed friend NFL Hall-of-Famer John Mackey who many considered the inventor of the Tight End Position, was not only the first Black in what had been previously an All-White fraternity, but his John Mackey Award has sent many a child of varied colors to college. I sat on that board also.
Today, my family is “America”. There are people of varied sexual preferences, of different colors, different nationalities and religions. Just like the neighborhood I grew up in which was composed of Blacks, Whites and Asians, we all get along. It was in an era where we had to all play and work together, or life could be quite drab.
It was a time when team play and cooperation were the road to success. Unlike today which is a selfish time personified by the “Selfie”. As successful coaches often say, “There is no I in team”.
I did not know Martin Luther King personally, but as a fellow Master’s Candidate at Boston University, I, on occasion, found myself sitting at the same table during lunchtime. I heard him speak and knew then he was someone special. Years later, I spent more time in his presence.
If he were alive today, he would be delighted with the progress that has been made, but would be ashamed of the few who walked with him through Selma, Alabama and now use his name in vain for their self-promotion and advancement. We see them all the time.
Whereas, there are hundreds more who were also there, but still work for good and seek no recognition.
I believe he would be appalled if he heard the statements uttered by some Black Players, that “NBA owners have a slave owner, or plantation mentality.
I hasten to point out there is no NBA owner to my knowledge is cracking a whip over a poor Black man must pick cotton to feed his family. NBA Players, Black and White, are paid millions of dollars each year.
Such a statement is the Nth Degree of Hypocrisy.
In the midst of all this, along came Kevin Durant to win this season’s MVP award. In his acceptance speech he not only won my heart and even moved me to tears, but he, and he alone, symbolized everything that is good about sports and the NBA.
It was Mother’s day week, but without any recognition of that fact, he spoke of and directly to his mother who to him is the real MVP. She deprived herself, even going hungry and wearing tattered clothes so her kids could get an education and succeed.
He spoke from the heart when he thanked each teammate, one at a time and saluted the city where he plies his trade.
Wouldn’t it be great that instead of an “All-Black League”, or and “All- White League”, we could had have an “All- Kevin Durant League”.
Kevin is a hero!
He personifies, as the Star-Spangled Banner says, “The home of the Brave and the Land of the Free” and everything good about the NBA.
We often forget that our parents came here from many distant shores to this land of opportunity.
In conclusion, let the Donald Sterlings of the world fade into the Sunset and oblivion while werealize that with every new Sunrise there may be more Kevin Durants.