It’s no surprise that I don’t know too much about many sports, but, to me, the week of April 8th was a big one for Basketball. This seems fairly obvious to most, but I am not talking about March Madness. Elsewhere in the world of basketball, Kyle Korver, shooting guard for the Utah Jazz, released an essay entitled “Privileged.”
There’s an elephant in the room that I’ve been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It’s the fact that, demographically, if we’re being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court.
In his op-ed for The Players Tribune, the former 76er talked about his teammate’s experiences with racism, both in and out of the industry, and introspectively reported on how he sees, and saw, these occurrences. The piece was lauded by many, including Jazz teammates and other Professionals such as Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.
What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.
His article did face some backlash, notably from Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock. On Speak For Yourself, the talk show host gave a scathing review, criticizing both the piece and the player. Whitlock accused the editorial as being a solutionless pass into “woke heaven” with unoriginal ideas.
Now, I don’t really care how Korver’s words effect the NBA, and I don’t know exactly what “woke heaven” is, but I do firmly believe that Korver’s words weren’t empty ones. Maybe he didn’t provide solutions, but a public declaration such as his takes him out of the ranks as a silent observer and puts another voice into a conversation America seems to be struggling to have. While this isn’t the manifesto of the century, in a school where the phrase “White Privilege” can be thrown around a lot, this is a piece worth reading.
Link to referenced article: Privileged. By Kyle Korver