“If you work hard and lace up your shoes, you can have the American dream, that’s a bunch of hogwash,” informed San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich when asked what black history month meant to him.
— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) February 3, 2017
Speaking to Jabari Young, who covers the Spurs & NBA for the San Antonio Express-News, the five-time NBA champion mused that he is always intrigued when asked if we always have to talk about race. “You’re damned right we do,” he scolds. Popovich claims racism is America’s “national sin” and it is “systemic” when it comes to equality of opportunity.
“If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage educationally, economically, culturally in this society,” insists Popovich who turned 68 last week. Popovich doesn’t talk about the fact that blacks hold a three to one margin of players over whites in the NBA, totaling 68% of the league according to a 2014 census survey. Certainly, some of those blacks got to the NBA by lacing up their shoes and working hard.
Not sure if the black victimization message Popovich gives during black history month is doing anyone a favor. After America just had a black president for the last eight years, doesn’t that mean that even a black American, who managed to obtain an Ivy League education (Columbia and Harvard), can give coach Popovich some hope that a black man can indeed rise to the top in America? Maybe Tiger Woods, Oprah, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Chris Rock, and these 100 top black executives can pull Popovich out of his depression.
Of course, there is racism in America. But, the fact is lacing your shoes up and working hard every day opens up broad opportunities. Couldn’t Popovich offer that message to young blacks in America rather than simply victimizing them and telling them the cards are stacked against you?
Nope. Coach contends that systemic roadblocks exist to keep blacks down, “whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education, we have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated.” He added, America doesn’t have the “leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it.”
You can listen to Popovich’s entire three-minute Black History Month comments here.