With the NBA season now under way (geez what an awful opening night for my Lakers), this story had to make the news:
Minnesota Timberwolves fans may notice something different about their team this year. In a league in which American-born black players made up 75 percent of roster spots in 2011, the Timberwolves will have an opening-day roster comprising just 33 percent black players (five out of 15).
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, this year’s squad will be the league’s whitest since the 1980s Boston Celtics.
Is that a problem?
Some civil rights leaders in Minneapolis think so. Tyrone Terrell, chairman of St. Paul’s African American leadership council, told the Star-Tribune that he thinks the unbalanced roster could be seen as a ploy by the ownership to sell the team to a majority-white fan base.
OK, now that’s just silly.
NBA teams are selected to win and to make money. And they do have to take into account their fan base. If the Timberwolves believe their team’s players will constitute a winning combination, and draw fans, then the owners have the right to make the team up with whomever they choose. Even if it means a mostly white team. No one in their right mind would say the NBA does not give black players an opportunity.
The thing is, wins and losses will determine whether the make-up of the Timberwolves is a good decision. One thing about sports fans, usually they want to win and they don’t care too much what skin color gets them there.
And besides it just seems like a bad idea all around to get into an argument that is predicated on the belief that unless an NBA team is mostly black, racism must be involved. That is a path that could backfire all too easily.
Let the Timberwolves play with whomever they want. The fans can vote to support that combo if they want. Or not. Besides do the locals upset about this team really want to open the door to someone arguing that white players are under-represented on other teams?
I don’t think so. Here is the full story.