|Is it o.k. to take a picture with a basketball player?|
(Former NBA star Ben Wallace and Tomi Johnson)
This small forward, who was 6' 10" and weighed 210 lbs. during his prime, played 409 games for the NBA. He died of liver cancer at age 57, the day before my birthday in 1984.
Sixty four years after Cooper's drafting, Black players make up 78 percent of NBA players. (African Americans were 13.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2012.)
But there's still trouble in the NBA locker room, a backstage mentality that keeps black players relegated in one place - as highly paid, athletic entertainers serving at the mercy of mostly white "owners" inside a culture of hidden inequality. Careers are short, injuries numerous, and egos often deflated.
Now comes one owner, Donald Sterling, caught in a racial rant with his "mixed" girlfriend, V. Stiviano. Sterling, in a taped conversation, said "his" Black athletes are paid, clothed, housed, transported, and fed well through his generosity. Sounds like what an 'ole slave massa would say... Also sounds like a rich old man trying to manage his lover's social agenda. It appears that Sterling also wanted his girlfriend to pass as white or Latino for some reason...
TEAM owners vs. ball handlers
NBA owners are billionaires, the players are merely millionaires.
Paul Allen, owner of the Portland Trial Blazers, is worth $15.8 billion, making him the 26th richest man in the US according to Forbes Magazine. Kobe Bryant, the highest paid NBA player, had a salary of $30.4 million for the 2013-2014 season. Although there are some talented white players in the League, the NBA would be nothing without talented black players, coaches, and staff.
Do you suppose Kobe is listening to Sterling's remarks and will one day become an NBA team owner himself like Michael Jordan? Would Kobe and Michael not want to be seen with black folks? (I am human. Nothing human is alien to me!) Maybe a case of racism or classism. You decide.