Open Court on NBA TV is always good for a look into the world of basketball from the eyes of the players. But the latest episode on Black History Month takes the candor to another level. I was very impressed with how the group including Shaq, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr were able to open up about race in the NBA. Also, Ernie Johnson Jr was great at asking probing questions which lead to some provocative answers.
What We Need.
Chris Webber doesn’t get enough credit for being an extremely engaging and intelligent person. He’s spot-on when talking about how we need to see more examples of black male success in all fields.
Charles isn’t being totally honest here. Anybody who’s ever played a game of pick-up basketball knows there is an expectation for the white boy to hit that jumper. You can’t tell me that in the back of his mind there isn’t the thought of picking the white guy because you assume he can shoot.
Kenny Smith’s story about Bill Russell checking him on his take on European players was great. Russell was absolutely right as a black man who knows how hard brothers work to make impact in pro sports. We should want to see those opportunities afforded to all people. It’s also good to Steve Smith talk about Mel Daniels, a pioneer on the court as a scout and an executive.