30 Apr Donald Sterling is Not America
Donald Sterling’s now famous racist comments are as disgusting as they come. Anticipating the endless and inevitable ways to which they will be subtly used to by President Obama and his Democrat Party and his media lapdogs to try to run with this sorry episode as if it were indicative of ‘racist America,’ is equally revolting.
The NBA has never been more popular. Its biggest past star, Michael Jordan, was probably the single most famous person in the world at the height of his career. Its biggest current star, Lebron James, may be nearly as famous. They and many others in the NBA make hundreds of millions of dollars from the combination of salary and endorsements, indirectly made possible by advertisers and television networks but ultimately by paying fans who deliver sellout crowds at arenas all over the country and big TV ratings, especially once the playoffs start.
And all of this in a league where a large majority of the players are black; where many, many times in many games there is not one white player on the floor.
These phenomena do not occur in a nation and culture that is racist. They can occur only in a nation and culture that is not racist.
And for those who know their NBA history (hat tip to my husband), many knowledgeable observers trace the springboard for the NBA’s current popularity to the 1980’s rivalry between Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, and Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.
Johnson is black, with all the bona fides of an inner city upbringing; and Bird is white, and a product of the small town, lower middle class hardscrabble community of French Lick, Indiana. Yet for these two rivals, mutual respect and genuine affection for each other and for the way competition brought out the best in each of them transcended and rendered irrelevant the color of their respective skin. When Johnson was diagnosed as having the HIV virus and had to retire from the game, Bird wept when he heard the news, and called Magic to offer his continuing friendship and support.
That is the story of the NBA; that is America and Americans at their best; that is the example that ought to be touted as the model direction for race relations in America.
Donald Sterling’s comments do not indicate what’s wrong with America; on the contrary, the uniform nationwide disgust with those comments indicates what’s right about America.