CHANGING THE RULES OF THE GAME
Gary Norris Gray- BASN Staff Reporter
Most of the rules enforced by the professional leagues were 80% geared for the restriction, reduction, or elimination of the African American players. These same players changed the game; these players improved their respective sport. African American players had to deal with society’s moral and social injustice, now they have to deal with professional sports moral and social injustice. Black athletes have to deal with this in silence.
African American males are told at an early age to dress up in their Sunday best, do not interrupt a speaker, pull up those pants, put your hat on and walk straight, do not tell a lie, obey and respect their elders, do not make fun of people that are less fortunate, respect women, respect the police or those in authority, and to get a college education. Play to the best of your ability. African American men have had to do all of these things and are still not being accepted in the United States.
Somebody must have forgotten to tell the current President-Elect Donald J. Trump. This is what privilege encourages, misbehavior, disrespect, rudeness, and dishonesty. This man encourages xenophobia, misogyny, and bigotry. This is what racism looks like and sounds like, America already understands and knows this. Mr. Trump has doubled down on his promises surrounding himself with individuals from the new cool political term; he has placed individuals from the Alt Right Movement in his cabinet. This is the code word for Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazi, White Supremacist, and White Nationalist groups. Apparently, this is what the United States of America and minorities will be dealing with the next four years.
In 2016 Donald J. Trump changed the way the political game was played. Mr. Trump stormed through the Republican primaries and then beat Hillary Clinton a democrat in the presidential race. Donald never played by the rules and changed the American political landscape. The National Football League, Major League Baseball, The National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association all changed the rules of the game too. Mr. Trump was looking for a particular voter, bullying his way to the White House. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL searched for a certain player and bullied the ones they did not like.
Earl Lloyd became the first African American in the National Basketball Association in 1950 breaking a gentlemen’s agreement of not drafting or playing Black players. These 17 owners excluded Black talent and the question remains what to do with the NBA records before 1950? Do they count?
- In 1960 the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers had a seven foot center named Wilt Chamberlain. This future Hall of Fame star was on his way to a double-double season. He scored 100 points against my beloved New York Knicks in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The NBA put an end to this by expanding the lane from 12 feet to 16 feet so Chamberlain could not clog and dominate the middle of the floor. Remember the Minnesota Lakers also had a seven foot Hall of Fame star named George Mikan. Ten years earlier the league expanded the lane from six feet to twelve feet. Mikan did not score the amount of points that Chamberlain did, but the wheels were set into motion to stop the scoring giant.
- There was an unwritten agreement from 1930-1975 that no more than three African Americans were to be on the floor at the same time. The Boston Celtics carried out this invisible law until 1976. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets still try to promote white players from Eastern Europe. There are not many American white players starting in the National Basketball League today.
3. In 1967 a young man from New York City was jamming the basketball on other players’ heads for three New York City High school championships. He also took three NCAA Championships at UCLA The University of California at Los Angeles, on his way into the NBA record books, seven foot, Lew Alcindor-Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Jabbar made the NCAA enforce the no dunking rule called the Alcindor Rule in 1967, the NBA followed suit a year later. Kareem answered that rule with the beautiful Sky Hook shot.
4. The league responded with another change. The lane was clogged with seven footers. In 1980 the NBA instituted the three point play, opening up the floor. This is when a player can shoot 22 feet from the basket and it counts as three points instead of two. Teams like the Boston Celtics already had pure shooters that could hit these shots. This rule kept Caucasian, Eastern European players in the game of basketball. This was a reaction to Black players flooding the league. In 1976-1979 New York City fans were calling the Knicks the N****Rbockers because the whole team happened to be BLACK and the team was losing.
In the 2014-2015 the game changed again and now pure shooters Black and white are cherished. The 2013-2016 Golden State Warriors with their Splash Brothers-Curry and Thompson broke all NBA 3-point records. Black players adopted the new style and are now thriving in the NBA. The lane has opened and players can now drive to the basket.
5. In 1990 the league instituted a dress code for all players. This too was directed at African Americans who dressed any way they wanted. The league wanted to clean up their act and blamed Black players for the dress code. The league wanted to move away from the “so called” Thug look.
6. In the same decade the league created the Flagrant Foul ONE AND TWO rule. This rule aimed at the so called BLACK malcontents like Metta World Peace, Russell Westbrooks, and Draymond Green with the possibility of suspension and fines with each flagrant foul…How many flagrant fouls do Caucasian players have? How many white players have been suspended under this law?
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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