Controversy is raging over Don "Moose" Lewis' plans to launch an all-white basketball league. The former wrestling promoter claims that the NBA has devolved into "street ball" dominated by "people of color" who carry guns, abuse fans, and—above all—don't play "fundamental basketball." Lewis' proposed All-American Basketball Alliance (AABA), scheduled to debut later this year in 12 Southeastern U.S. cities, will restrict team rosters to "natural-born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race." Claiming to harbor no "hatred" against "anyone of color," Lewis describes his venture as a chance to move pro basketball in a "better direction." Is the AABA anything but a pure expression of racism? (Watch the commissioner defend the whites-only basketball league)
This is beyond ridiculous—but it's for real: I first took this as a joke, says Rick Chandler at NBC Sports. Then "I made a couple of calls" and "sadly, it's indeed legit." Equally depressing is the fact that it's getting some grass-roots support, at least in Augusta, Ga., one of the 12 cities the AABA is targeting to host franchises. So much for progress on the race front.
"Promoter wants to start all-white basketball league"
An all-whites league makes some sense: "Moose" Lewis does have a point—of sorts, anyway, says Marlone Viardo in Siopao Heaven. "Since the '60s, the game of basketball has been dominated by African-Americans." The AABA would "give white guys, who are used to being dunked on by the Wades and the Bryants, a chance" to excel. Setting up a league where everyone is at "the same skill level" may be the only way "whites get their share of hardcourt action." That said, American society (admirably) shuns even the appearance of racism, so I can hardly see this happening.
"'White' league dissed"
Good luck finding players: Forget the overt racism for a moment, says Mark Lorenz in Manolith. Let's boil this down to a practical question: "Where are you going to find people willing to play in ... the most boring sports league in the history of sports leagues?" Even if you signed a white player who happens to be both "insanely good at basketball and also terribly racist" —he'd have to be second-generation "Caucasion," and not, say, a Croatian immigrant. Let's face it, all the NBA's "gigantic white guys" are foreigners.
"Who wants to watch whites-only basketball?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
Subscribe to the Week