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Former Knicks forward Larry Johnson calls for all-black basketball league

Apr 29, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

Larry Johnson Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson – who played for the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks and worked for the Knicks at least until Phil Jackson’s hiring – has thoughts on Donald Sterling:

Johnson’s comments will certainly be mocked. The “He Should have Who ever he wants at the game” strikes me as particularly backward.

And I definitely want to see basketball’s top league remain integrated. I’d much prefer we work toward an NBA with a better grasp of its racial issues rather than falling into a separate-but-equal situation that has never worked.

But understand where Johnson is coming from.

A majority of NBA owners are white. This is not a coincidence.

Because of America’s long history of racism, more-recent moves toward equality have not come close to closing the wealth gap between whites and blacks. A system initially implemented hundreds of years ago has made it so whites in this country are still much more likely to have enough money to buy an NBA team.

And in a league where a majority of the players are black, that creates a certain dynamic. As Sterling allegedly demonstrated in the recordings, at least one NBA owner runs his team with a planation mentality. Sterling allegedly said of his players:

I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them?Do I know that I have – who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?

That is not a healthy attitude. “Give”? Give me a break. Sterling pays his players for their work, like any employee. If he doesn’t view it that way, it’s a byproduct of a larger – and troubling – culture that views blacks as less than whites.

Can you blame Johnson for not wanting to be a part of that?

  1. amlowlife - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    Interesting concept. Let’s see…
    First you would have to find a whole lot of black billionaires to own the teams which may be difficult to do. Of course, if blacks wanted to play for salaries similar to D-League players then multi-millionaires would probably suffice.
    You would have to convince the NBA fans that attend games–most of which are white–that it isn’t a racist league as I would imagine more than a few would see the league as something similar to Donald Sterling except biased against a different race.
    I can imagine TV ratings would crash, too, and that corporate advertising and sponsorships would drop drastically. And I don’t think that would be necessarily a race thing but rather an ROI thing.
    So would the Larry Birds, Dirks, and Manus of the world all play in Europe? That would be a shame. Might have to buy the Euro-League Hoops package from DirecTV.

    C’mon, Larry, put that UNLV education to work and think things like this through before going public with them…

  2. zukny1 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Person A: “Doesn’t want GF to bring girls to a game.”
    Person B: “No Whites in my games”

    Pretty sure Person B is being MUCH more discriminatory. No one will care though.

    • zukny1 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      of course I can’t edit comments:

      Person A: “Doesn’t want GF to bring blacks to a game”

    • reesesteel23 - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Are you seriously comparing a 9-minute+ racist rant to a guy foolishly thinking black players should start their own league?

      • sumkat - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        just going by time stamp, Johnson’s “rant” was at least 12 minutes

  3. phillyphan975 - Apr 29, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    I rarely comment, however I think this point needs to be heard. This statement does NOT help any cause or progress to move away from racism. Let me flip the coin…What would happen if a white guy came out and said that white people should have their own league, what reaction would that get? We all know the reaction that it will get…So why is it okay for him to make a comment that a league should be formed with all black people? Please someone tell me how this is not discriminatory???

  4. mblue24 - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    Larry Johnson is a doucebag and needs to shut mouth. He will make it worse on everybody in this country. People are taking this way overboard. This is so stupid. Let the guy own hi team and run it anyway he wants to. Afterall it’s his money and if people dot want to work for him the don’t. It’s the bi*** that made all of this come out. She should be prosecuted to the fullest. A black leave is not the answer and would never make it anyway. No reason for all of these people to keep bit*****. Get a life people.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Get spell check.

  5. mblue24 - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    All of the people blaming him just suck. Dm now you say anything in this world behind doors without the African American throwing the racists card out. What a shame.

  6. antistratfordian - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:09 PM


  7. krebsy34 - Apr 29, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    If they want an all black league wouldn’t that negate everything that MLK, Rosa Parks, ect had fought for during the civil rights movement and Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier? Shouldn’t it be able equality for all? It’s not like the white players didn’t protest with their black teammates? It’s like burning or banning books, it just doesn’t make sense.

    • limonadamas - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:51 PM

      LJ’s comments aren’t in the vein of MLK or Rosa Parks. They’re in the vein of Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan.

      • jollyjoker2 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:03 PM

        Time for coon hunting and larry is on top my list.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        Larry would crush you like the pea brain ant you are.

      • limonadamas - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:12 PM

        you talkin’ to me, jimeejohnson? i don’t think i said anything inappropriate… =T

    • krebsy34 - Apr 30, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      limonadamas, fact. lol. however I think my overall point is still valid.

      • limonadamas - May 1, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Agreed. =)

  8. hozay05 - Apr 29, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    And they should have their own bathrooms and ride their own buses and their own restaurants. Ohhh wait that’s segregation that won’t work gramama

  9. jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Love to see white boy indignation. Thanks.

  10. aldavis4president - Apr 29, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Lol a lot of you are missing the point! Someone pointed out it would negate what MLK Rosa parks etc etc did. This isn’t segregation. This isn’t because blacks don’t like whites. It’s because African Americans now have the rights to do something like this. This has nothing to do with how the majority of nba feels, but about how the owners feel about the players.

  11. jollyjoker2 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Go ahead buddy.. You can put it on the oprah network because I won’t watch your racist league.

  12. jimeejohnson - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    Reminds me of a song:
    Doo doo doo,
    Globetrotters (no white boys),
    doo doo doo,
    oh yeah!

  13. El Pollo Loco - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    He did go to UNLV….

  14. urodaddy07 - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Oh Larry, I’m a black man and you and Sterling have just proven that dumb doesn’t know skin color. Shut up!

  15. kavika6 - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    Why isn’t LJ being banned from NBA games for life? The only difference is that one racist scumbag said it privately and another racist scumbag said it publicly.

  16. onlyavoice - May 2, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    All Black League, LMAO.
    It would be broke & asking for assistance before it ever took off.
    Then have only blacks buying the seats, NOT>

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