This is not supposed to be a funny post. If you find it funny, then I have clearly failed in my attempt.
Three basketball-related incidents occurred recently that got me to thinking about a particular topic.
The first was an article by Buzz Bissinger, who writes for the Daily Beast, entitled: “NBA All-Star Game: White Men Can’t Root.” The premise of the article was that the NBA was losing popularity because it did not have a white superstar. There was some discussion over this article, as well as a back-and-forth conversation between Bissinger and Mark Cuban.
The second was the showing of an ESPN “30-for30” documentary: “The Fab Five.” In the documentary, Jalen Rose (who was also the Executive Producer) included some dated material where he stated that Duke Basketball players were ‘Uncle-Toms.’ This brought a response from one of those players, Grant Hill, and some more conversation throughout the sports world.
The third was a post by OPP reader Manny55, entitled “Everyone wants to build a house in L.A.” Some comments made by Manny at the end of his post provoked a conversation among several readers that was related to both class and ethnicity.
By now, it has probably become clear to you that the topic to which I referred earlier is ethnicity/race. These three stories, unrelated by proximity but related by narrative, all created a discussion on this issue. And all of this got me to thinking.
Opinion time: It seems to me that race is an issue that has to be handled carefully in the world of basketball. On the one hand, we shouldn’t let a person’s skin color affect our decision-making. On the other hand, pretending that we live in a society that sees no color is delusional. In my own day-to-day interactions, I try to be as fair as possible in dealing with every person I encounter, regardless of their ethnicity. I recognize, however, that I carry with me certain social biases that operate on a subconscious level. I think the danger is not in having these biases, but rather, in not being aware of them. That’s all my opinion, and as such, it is worth what you paid for it.
Because I don’t have a clever ending of my own, I’ll close with the words of John Hope Franklin (1915-2009): “We know all too little about the factors that affect the attitudes of the peoples of the world toward one another. It is clear, however, that color and race are at once the most important and the most enigmatic.”