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Rasheed Wallace: We Don’t Get ‘White Opportunities’

Former NBA champion Rasheed Wallace says the league still has work to do when it comes to equality and inclusivity.

Since the season’s restart, NBA players and coaches have made powerful statements about racial justice in the United States.

‘Black Lives Matter’ is printed onto the players’ T-shirts and painted on to the court. As well as that, player names have been replaced by social justice messages on jerseys. 

Rasheed Wallace, speaking to the BBC, says there is still a glass ceiling to be smashed. 


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The NBA, for all intents and purposes, is a minority league in which race has always been prevalent. 75% of NBA players are black. In 2017, over 60% of those who watched on TV were non-white. However, that’s where it ends for minorities featuring heavily in the league.

Of 30 teams, only one has a black majority owner. That’s the Charlotte Hornets owner Micheal Jordan, one of the most successful and richest black former players ever. As of today, only 8 head coaches in the league are black. As well as that, there are only six black general managers.

For a predominantly black league on the playing side, the positions of power are still reserved for white people. 2004 Champion Rasheed Wallace outlines how professional sports is the only pathway to success presented to young black people.

“We don’t get the quote-unquote ‘white opportunities’ – to be that GM, to be that head coach, assistant GM or partial owner, whatever. That’s always up to the white people,” he says.


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Wallace wants the country to get to a place where black people “don’t have to just play basketball or football or baseball to become someone, to become a significant person in my community, or to even make a lot of money”.

That’s the only outlet that we see as young black men: I gotta make it in basketball or football or baseball. And that’s all that we’re offered.”

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