Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• I don’t know anyone, of any race, who when talking about Warriors management deciding to fire Mark Jackson thought this was racially based. That said, to suggest race, backgrounds and different perspectives based on different upbringings where race is an influence didn’t play a role would be naive. Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News did a thoughtful, must-read peace on this. These are just a couple of paragraphs that do not do the entire post justice, go read.
I believe race can be a factor without malice being part of it. The reality is sports is a place where race, culture, class, religion and every other dividing line collide. It is naive to think issue won’t arise out of that. I know people like to view sports as an escape from real life. But your favorite escape is fashioned by real life, and it’s importance to our society has made it real life. So these things can’t be avoided….
Good leaders, managers, are versatile in their approach. Lacob’s emotional, involved style in some ways disregards the dynamic he created when he hired Jackson. The fact is he did hire a black coach. And it makes zero sense to act like he just hired a coach. The opposite of racism isn’t not seeing race, it is embracing race. A minor amount of awareness would suggest a black coach is going to take having an owner mean-mugging on the sidelines a little differently.
• Along those same lines, this post by Kevin Draper at The Diss, talking about structural racism in the NBA (and it does exist), is another must read on the issue of race and the NBA.
• Speaking of must-reads, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, a native Nigerian, penned an op-ed on the horrific kidnapping drama going on in Nigeria that is a powerful, personal, emotional must read.
I grew up a few hours to the west of Warabe, in the city of Zaria. As an adult, I have lived throughout the world – attending college in the United States, playing professional basketball in Europe. Eventually, I found my way to Toronto. I have a good life in a wonderful, cosmopolitan city, but I am everywhere a son of Africa.
My wife is also African. Our daughter was born here. Given a different set of circumstances and less luck, she might have been born elsewhere, perhaps even some place where children are abducted. A place where little girls are taken because someone did not want them to learn.
• On a vaguely related note (one not sports related) that I’ve wanted to slip in for a while, I recently finished reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah” (about a Nigerian woman who comes to America and eventually returns to her homeland) and have to say it’s been my favorite read of the last few years. If you like good literature and a thoughtful perspective on race, pick it up.
• On a lighter note:
• The NBA is selling those Clippers “We Are One” T-shirts.
• The Hawks are expected to pick up Pero Antic’s team option for next season, which at $1.25 million they very much should do.
• Dirk Nowitzki says he is not going to sign a Kobe-sized contract, and thinks he has a couple good years left.
• Remember the proposed James Harden for Bradley Beal trade that Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis killed? How do you feel about that one now?
• Jordan Farmar wants to stay with the Lakers. Whoever is the coach.
• A few days late with it, but it’s still valid and a reminder of what a great first round we had.
• V. Stiviano’s lawyer says she is sad about Donald Sterling’s ban. I’m trying to care what she thinks…. nope, I failed.