It’s all stating the obvious, but it’s nice to hear Colin Cowherd discuss this morning some of the realities of race in the NBA. The context is his contention that the “sickening” letter Gilbert sent to Cleveland fans four years ago is, indeed, a legitimate reason for LeBron to hesitate about going back there.
A few of of Cowherd’s comments (my comments in parentheses):
When guys fight in other leagues, you don’t hear the word “thug.” In the NBA – “thug.” (And of course, the NBA is the one league that has virtually banned fighting).
The dress code. (And yes, Commissioner Stern more or less acknowledged that the degree to which his league is dominated by black players necessitated that kind of image-management, especially in the aftermath of the “malice in the palace.”)
No one says a word about the fact that Kevin Love, who is still under contract with the Timberwolves, has apparently visited other teams this summer. (and see this interesting piece on media treatment of Love, from David Leonard).
Many of Colin’s listeners argued with him for months that Jimmer Fredette was going to be a star and for years that LeBron really wasn’t.
Colin said that after the just completed draft – and his producer backed this up – the player whose prospects his listeners most wanted to hear about wasn’t Wiggins or Embiid or Parker. It was Doug McDermott (I am guessing Colin’s audience probably has a pretty strong demographic tilt).
“We don’t like black superstars having power and leverage,” Cowherd said.
By the way, call me crazy, but I think Cleveland’s roster is *vastly* overrated. Kyrie Irving is still very young. But he profiles as a classic overrated player. There is really nothing he does better than the average point guard in the NBA – assists; assists-to-turnovers; rebounds; shooting percentage. What does he do “better” – he takes a lot of shots, just like every other overrated player in the league. Has anyone noticed the kinds of players who are *not* on the Spurs’ roster?
If LeBron is going back to Cleveland to play with Irving and Andrew Wiggins (who also looks like a player whose perceived value might reside in his shooting frequency), he’s going to be sorely disappointed. If Kevin Love ended up in Cleveland, that’d be much more interesting. But as it stands, this is not a championship team, even with LeBron.