Wednesday, April 2, 2008

ESPN: Black Magic

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Recently ESPN aired a two part event chronicling the struggles of black's integration into the world of professional and college basketball. This revealing snapshot into one of the many obstacle filled journeys for a more equal society brings to light some of the best basketball players that ever lived, but that were not given an opportunity to demonstrate their skills on some of the greatest stages in the world. The gripping stories of these blacktop warriors, both on and off the court, reveal the severity and dire circumstances that existed in this country only 40 years ago. These men not only changed the way black athletes were viewed by the public but how the game of basketball would be played forever.



One point that I found particularly disturbing and relevant to the struggles of all people of color today was one that was illuminated by former Southern University head coach Ben Jobe. At one point in the film Jobe was telling of the ground breaking style of play that was pioneered by his mentor and dear friend John Mclendon, who created what is now known as the fast break. Jobe told of how years after Mclendon had perfected and demolished opponents with his genius strategy and had long passed from the world of basketball Duke university entered the NCAA championship game. In this game Duke used a stunning technique of running up and down the court and slaughtered their opponent. The next day Jobe recalled reading the paper only to see the praise of Duke's head coach and his never before seen strategy. Jobe was sickened to his very core to see the work of his dear friend being stolen out from under him while he lay forgotten in the shadows. He then remarked that when the wealthy white Duke University used the fast break it was genius but when Mclendon used it it was "Jungle Ball."

This unfortunate trend of not noticing or caring about issues until they become "white" has been apart of not only the imperialist culture but of American culture for centuries. The examples of this trend stretch far into the annals of history from the first recorded people to sail around the horn of Africa to the problems that face us today such as AIDS or drug use. It has manifested itself all to often that things become evident to the public only when they affect the white main stream, and all other people are left to fend for themselves. Even today the hypocrisy and double standards that plague this nation are evident from the uncontainable spread of drugs and AIDS throughout the inter cites into the colonial style suburbs of the mainstream to the 1992 LA riots which were only quelled after the killing had spread from the African and Korean neighborhoods to the outskirts of Beverly Hills. Another potent example of this tragic occurrence was revealed in rapper DJ Quick's verse in regard to the school shooting panic of the late 90's:

Y'all rappin I'm talkin cool, and Columbine is not new
In Compton they shoot up schools too, ridin by to see who's who
Cock the shotty they cruise through, rock the body blood ooze through

This crippling double standard has left the abused people of this nation voiceless. No one cares to look down onto the streets from their media high towers or their secure place on capital hill. My sentiment is if they can't hear us, then we must yell. Too many times have the people of this nation, especially those of color, let the people in control dole out the resources amongst each other and just survive on the crumbs from master's table. It is time to bite the hands that feeds us. We can no longer just wait for others to make our problems go away because the reality we face has been ignored by the people in power for far to long. Only when we do for ourselves and look out for each other can we truly prosper in this country. When people of all colors stop bickering amongst themselves and stand up then we will have a true revolution on our hands, and that day my friends will truly be our day of atonement.

3 comments:

TheWackyWorldofO said...

Man thats deep brother, I need to check up on that documentary I hadn't seen it yet. This reminds me of the Walt Hazard/ Bob Cousy situation, Bob Cousy was known for his "hot dog" moves: the spin, cross over dribble, in and out, behind the back pass, and was worshiped for it. But years before Walt Hazard (a black man and former Harlem Globetrotter) perfected those moves way before Cousy while attending UCLA. When Hazard would use those same moves on the court, he was booed and told by Coach John Wooden that he is messing up the game. Such hypocrisy in AmeriKKKa! A black man does something revolutionary and he is condemned, let a white man do it and he is "The Man".

Daniel Owen said...

Yeah, and now most all basketball players are black! ;)

Anonymous said...

This article..."ESPN Black Magic" is ridiculous....describing men who play a game as heroes is simply crazy. By analogy, if I play both croquet and golf...both games....does that make me two times a hero ??????