In an interview about the history of race in professional basketball, Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) lamented about the racism that exists in America and how racial prejudice impacts the National Basketball Association.
“America has been racist for a long time, so obviously there’s racism in every big corporation,” the 16-year NBA veteran said in a recent interview. “When the NBA first started the NBA was very racist. They had no Black people in the NBA.”
Indeed, professional basketball’s early leagues were racially segregated. All-black teams, known as “Black Fives,” played in the early 1900s before the NBA, essentially started in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America, integrated in 1950.
Metta World Peace admitted to not being “educated” on the history of Negro Leagues and all-black basketball teams.
“Growing up in America, I think over time people realized that racism is very ignorant,” Metta said. “And that’s where we are today.”
See the full interview below.