The All-American Basketball Alliance is different from other minor league basketball organizations. To be eligible to play in the league, one must be an American citizen with parents who are both white.
Don "Moose" Lewis, AABA commissioner, said the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions is not racism, according to the Augusta Chronicle. Augusta, Ga., is one of 12 Southeastern cities where the Atlanta-based AABA wants to launch teams.
"I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like," Lewis told the Chronicle.
Lewis went on to say that the AABA will emphasize fundamentals rather than "street-ball" played by "people of color." If that's not racist, it's at the very least a generalization based on race. Not all basketball players of color play the same kind of ball or grew up in the inner-city playing "street-ball." Kobe Bryant grew up partly in Italy, and Michael Jordan grew up in North Carolina. It's certainly inaccurate to suggest that all black basketball players have the same style and to insinuate that NBA players, arguably the world's best, lack fundamentals is patently ridiculous. Lastly, if basketball players of color have changed the game so drastically, how have NBA players from Spain, China, Eastern Europe and elsewhere managed to compete? If they can go toe-to-toe with the mostly African-American NBA, certainly white Americans are capable of doing so as well. And the reason players from all over the world successfully compete in the NBA is that they, like NBA players, start off by learning the fundamentals of basketball.
Furthermore, Lewis' argument that whites are the minority now needs to be fleshed out. Whites are certainly not a minority group in the U.S. While they make up a minority of players in the NBA, this is nothing new, so why an all-white league now? If the NBA had historically kept whites from playing in the league, it would make sense that they would need their own league, but this isn't the case today nor has it ever been. Those who run the NBA, such as Commissioner David Stern, are white. Most NBA coaches are white, so if whites make up a small percentage of NBA players, it can't be blamed on racial discrimination.
The all-white AABA does amount to discrimination, though. Requiring players to have two white parents is discriminatory. Whites, after all, aren't the only minority in professional basketball. You don't see many Latinos, Asians, Native Americans or Middle Easterners on the court either. So, why isn't the AABA open to those players?