Michael Jordan: ‘I considered myself a racist’

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Michael Jordan, in Roland Lazenby’s, “Michael Jordan: The Life,” discussed his upbringing and his views on race as an elementary-school student. An excerpt (hat tip: Natalie Finn of E! Online):

Earlier that year, a girl at school called Michael a “nigger.”

“I threw a soda at her,” he recalled. “It was a very tough year. I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at that time. Basically, I was against all white people.”

I know where this is going: What’s the difference between Jordan and Donald Sterling?

For one, Jordan was a kid, someone with a narrow worldview due to lack of experience. Sterling’s hate comes despite a lifetime of opportunities to see the world differently.

Secondly, Jordan has changed. At that time, he was upset about the treatment his great grandfather – who had recently passed away – had received from whites throughout his life (Lazenby talked about that in his interview with PBT). Jordan’s anger was understandable, based on repeatedly seeing and hearing about whites establishing power over blacks and exercising it to do harm. Sterling came from a place of power, and he used it through housing discrimination and workplace harassment to keep minorities down.

In another excerpt from the book (full disclosure: I receive a free promotional copy), Jordan discussed the aftermath of that incident at school:

“The education came from my parents,” Jordan recalled. “You have to be able to say, OK, that happened back then. Now let’s take it from here and see what happens. it would be very easy to hate people for the rest of your life, and some people have done that. You’ve got to deal with what’s happening now and try to make things better.”

Jordan’s grade-school attitude wasn’t healthy. Jordan the adult knows that, and that’s what matters.

Nobody is perfect, but we should all try to learn and be better. Jordan did.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.