The NBA is a player’s league and the power resides with them. Players have broken barriers in the league on so many levels, like Bill Russell, who achieved becoming the first black player-coach in April of 1966. After a decorative career Russell joined the front office of the Celtics organization and ever since he took to the sideline with his clipboard, there have been numerous black coaches that followed in his footsteps. The issue today, still, is the absence of black coaches, general managers, and team owners within the league. Having two black coaches, coach against each other in the 2016-2017 NBA Finals for the first time since 1975, according to The Undefeated, raises eyebrows. And that instance only came to fruition under certain circumstances, being that the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Steve Kerr, was out for Game 1 with health issues, with assistant coach, Mike Brown, taking his place. This continuing story of the lack of black coaches plagues the league, with the thought in mind that this is a player’s league and the majority of the league’s players happen to be black.
The fact that there is only one black team owner in the entire league, shows the disparity between the understanding of the players and the league as a whole. That one owner happens to be Michael Jordan, you know, the greatest basketball player that has ever graced the hardwood with his Air Jordan’s? Yea, it seems to make sense since he alone helped provide global awareness of the game due to his talents and pure domination around the league. His brand definitely helps him as well.
There has been a lot of talk about women being able to coach in the league as well, and rightfully so. Becky Hammon is the first assistant coach in the NBA and helps coach none other than one of the most successful NBA teams, in the San Antonio Spurs. People talk about her being able to coach because she has proved that she is capable of doing so, leading the Spurs to the Summer League title in Las Vegas of 2015. Working her way to becoming the first woman to coach an NBA team, Hammon knows that she needs to work harder than men, let alone white men to be able to be qualified for the job. Same thing goes for minorities, there is always the invisible wall that needs to be overcome just to receive recognition that you belong.
I know that there are a lot of white males that deserve the job that they have in the league because they are skilled and are great people who know how to connect with others, but these days, especially with more international players than ever before, it has become a little suspect that minorities have not taken up the coaching throne. Earl Watson, David Fizdale, and Jason Kidd are the first black coaches to be fired in the 2017-2018 season and many players have come to their defense. Coaches that have done amazing jobs in the past have been fired and the players around the league are usually the first to speak out about it. David Fizdale, who was an assistant coach for the Miami Heat during the years with Lebron James and Dwyane Wade was let go of his coaching position in November 2017. Wade was the first to tweet something about it saying, “I need answers!!! WTF,” with James following afterwards tweeting, “I need some answers. Feels like my man was a fall guy,” in direct response to the tweet about Fizdale being fired. James and Wade are of the leagues top prospects when it comes to players with careers that speak for themselves and when you have people like them defending Fizdale, you realize that people have agendas, with those people being the general managers and team owners.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are concretely written down in our nation’s Constitution, and without those ideals instilled in our heads, we lack the confidence needed to become the person we want to be. It all starts at the beginning and reshaping our country for the people, by the people. We all need to work together to function properly amongst each other so that we can all succeed together, as one. Black people were oppressed even while the Constitution was being drafted, therefore they never felt like they were included in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But now, black people have firmly solidified their place in the world, breaking down barriers and sometimes even backboards. The basketball world knows no color, as long as you can ball, you belong. Same goes for the work place, if you put in the work and effort, you belong. Regardless of skin color.
Sam Chavarria is a CSUITEMUSIC.com Sports Blogger.
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