You know how we all joked about the Timberwolves’ predominantly not-black roster two years ago? And then remember when we all stopped making jokes about it because it got old (except for Myles Brown who, somehow, remained funny)?
Well, now local Minneapolis civil rights activists want to get involved and make the whole thing for real. From the USA Today:
“How did we get a roster that resembles the 1955 Lakers?” Tyrone Terrell, chairman of St. Paul’s African American leadership council asked Jerry Zgoda and Dennis Brackin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “I think everything is a strategy. Nothing happens by happenstance.” [...]
“It’s just basketball,” [Brandon] Roy said. “I never really had to feel like I’m the only black guy out here. I’ve played on teams that maybe had all black guys and the feeling is just the same when I’m out there on the floor playing with these guys. The only problem we have is in the weight room, arguing over what music we’re going to listen to.”
But Ron Edwards, a local civil rights advocate said “I think, personally, that it was calculated. Is this an attempt to get fans back in the stands? Minnesota, after all, is a pretty white state.”
By no means am I trying to demean what civil rights activists do. Racism is still a real problem in our country, and activists, particularly local activists who have their ears to the ground at all times, are vital to making sure that racism is rooted out, exposed, and hopefully corrected. I don’t live in the Minneapolis area, so I don’t have any experience with the St. Paul African-American leadership council, but I’m sure they do a lot of great work within the community.
It’s true the Wolves have a white team. It’s impossible not to notice when they step out on the court. And yes, Minnesota is a “pretty white state” (86% of the population, according to a 2011 census).
That being said, this whole discussion is utter crap.
Frankly, this sounds like a bunch of borderline sports fans who know player names but not player talent levels. Wes Johnson and Michael Beasley were replaced by Andrei Kirilenko and Chase Budinger in the offseason? That’s two white guys replacing two black guys…racism!
Except that Chase and Andrei are huge upgrades from Wes and Beas. Not because they are white, but because they are better players. And they aren’t better players because they are white, they are just…better. Sorry. I don’t know how else to spell that out.
Roy’s quote is the most telling. The real question is how a black player feels on the Wolves roster, and Roy feels right at home. And honestly, that comment is hilarious. Who do you think wins the weight-room music argument? And what is everybody pushing for? Is Kevin Love constantly trying to sneak in a Beach Boys CD? Does Ricky Rubio love the latest One Direction single? Does Andrei Kirilenko prefer the musical stylings of Подпишись на новые клипы? Is Pekovic a fan of sea shanties sung by ancient Vikings? I need answers, guys.
Listen, it’s easy to see how a civil rights activist, whose senses are finely tuned toward racial wrong-doing, would look at this situation and see something wrong, but the fact is that anybody who follows the Wolves closely can see that it really did happen by happenstance. The best player available to the Wolves at each position was white. David Kahn went out and got the best player he could each time. The result is the roster you see.
Moreover, if Minnesota had been really racist, they could have drafted Enes Kanter instead of Derrick Williams. Let’s just be grateful they didn’t do that, and then let’s leave it alone and get back to basketball. Please, before I lose my mind.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.