All White Basketball League?
Some might say yes, and that one arena in which white minority status needs protecting is in professional sports…basketball in particular.
So say Don “Moose” Lewis and the All-American Basketball Alliance, who are now publicizing plans for an all-white basketball league. The league aims to launch in twelve cities this summer, according to a recent report in the Augusta Chronicle. The league's commissioner, Lewis, said that in today’s culture you have to "worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch." Therefore, a league is needed that focuses on "fundamental basketball" instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." When asked by Tony McNary in a CBS interview whether this project is racist Lewis quickly answered, "No." He continued by stating that "it's not gonna be the street-type ball mentality. It's going to be different."
Many disagree and question what exactly “different” means. For starters, there’s Charles Barkley, who is quoted in The Huffington Post as stating that an all-white league is “just blatantly racist if you look at the code words used;" street-ball, fundamental, attacking, crotch-grabbing. Barkley continued, "I don't take it seriously, but it just lets you know there's blatant racism out there.... It lets you know, as a black man, there are people out there who don't like you." Other less famous Americans of various racial backgrounds are also skeptical. After watching a video about the league, Ben Ervin, a 33-year-old multiracial (Filipino, White and African American) from Los Angeles wonders if both of a player’s parents need to be white in order for that player to play or coach. He asked, “will there be DNA testing and what defines white? 50%? 67%? What about phenotypic American born African American Albino parents that have an Albino child?” Then there’s Jordan Breen, a 22-year-old Cuban-Irish American from Philadelphia, who remarked, “I love the caveat that you don’t have to be white to own or invest…amazing!”
Barkley, Mason and Breen are calling attention to the idea that an all-white league is evidence that we haven’t become a post-racial nation in which race and racism no longer exist. In fact, they’re reminding us that if “the problem of the 20th century was the problem of the color line,” then the problem of the 21st century is that the color that matters most is green.
I quote Lewis to support this point. Apparently he’s not the only one who sees the promise of using race as spectacle and marketing tool. “In the past 72 hours, I've been approached by two different parties to not only televise what we're doing, but to turn this into a reality show from the time we start all the way through, and at the end, have our white all-stars play a group of all-star black players, with the series called ‘Snowball vs. Bro Ball.’”