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All -White Basketball League Sparks Controversy

By January 26, 2010

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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?


January 26, 2010 at 8:31 am
(1) Jim says:

Does anyone know where you can try out for this league? When do they expect it to begin?

January 26, 2010 at 9:18 am
(2) Hillary says:

Excellent refutation of an imbecilic idea. Showed this as a model example for 8th grade writers (students from all ethnic/racial backgrounds).

January 26, 2010 at 11:53 am
(3) Mark C says:

Yeah, I’m about 110% sure this league is against Federal law.

January 26, 2010 at 12:45 pm
(4) Connie says:

Fans can’t get enough of “fundamentally sound” basketball. That’s why the WNBA has been such a runaway success.

January 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm
(5) Mike says:

I’m a white American and I’m not very good at basketball, but it’s OK because there are much more important things to be good at in life. “Moose” – if not racist, you’re at least a weirdo.

January 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm
(6) Bill says:

To say that white people utilize “basketball fundamentals” whereas black players do not, is in itself racist. So to say this all-white league is not racist is patently incorrect from the outset. Secondly, I can’t image it would ever pass legal challenges, not if it is going to be a professional league.

If, on the other hand, the league operates as a private, non-profit club, then it could probably withstand legal obligations. At that point it would be no different than the infinite number of African-American clubs to be found. However, unlike the clubs for blacks, the white club would still face criticism. But that is a whole nother discussion.

January 26, 2010 at 3:15 pm
(7) kat says:

No white person who can actually play basketball will join it and no white person who likes basketball will watch it.

This is a non-issue.

January 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm
(8) kirk says:

maybe its just me but all white basketball seems boring who wants to watch a bunch of passing and mid range 2s if i want to see that i’ll just watch the wnba and thats not happening give me kobe and lebron any day

January 26, 2010 at 9:53 pm
(9) JC says:

First, if the AABA is against federal law how can that be reconciled with the WNBA. For the WNBA we have a class of people (women) who are not good enough to play in the NBA, so a separate league is created for this class. For the AABA just substitute “white” for women. A court would be hard pressed to allow one and not the other.

Second, as far as white player being more “fundamental” than black players, this is a perception mistake. It just so happens that the white players we see in college and the NBA are more fundamental than the black players because they have to be to make it to that level. On the whole, white players tend to be slower and can’t jump as high as black players. Therefore, if a white player makes it to the NBA, he has to bring something to the table and most of the time it has to be good fundamentals. There are many, many black NBA players with BOTH athleticism and fundamentals and this is why only 6% of the NBA is white.

January 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm
(10) John in Socal says:

Either get rid of all reverse discrimination (that is what this league really amounts to), or allow all of it in. Meaning, you would have to get rid of black colleges, scholarships based on your race, and organizations that are allowed to try to promote one race/color over another based on the color of their skin.

Whites would be THRILLED when special consideration isn’t based on the color of your skin.

If the author was fair and honest, she would write another article about how the NAACP is an outdated racist organization that only causes problems between the races and not harmony. They should come into the 21st century and switch their name to the National Association for the Advancement of ALL Races? I wouldn’t oppose that group.

January 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm
(11) BobbyG says:

This will never happen. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act specifically outlaws hiring by race. Very old news. Were this some lame bigot’s attempt to start a private whites-only KKKrackerball amateur rec league, it’d be a different issue. But, IIRC, Bubba Don Moose Lewis proposes a “pro” league. Not gonna happen.

January 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm
(12) CB says:

Nash, Bird, Maravich, Kirilenko, Novitzki, Petrovic, Ginobili, Cousy, Chambers, Mullin, Schrempf, Rubio, P. Gasol, M. Gasol, Calderon, Hornacek, McHale, Stockton, Divac, Smits, J. Williams, Eaton, Sikma

January 31, 2010 at 3:04 pm
(13) Dave Cannon says:

I see no issues with this league. We have black colleges that exclude white students such as howard university, where if the outcry there??? if whites wish to have theirown PRIVATE league with PRIVATE funds its their right. But of course orgs such as the naacp have to butt in. Its frankly none of your business.

February 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm
(14) Dee says:

Dave, you are incorrect. Howard University does not discriminate. It is a historically and predominately black University, but it does allow non blacks to attend. In fact, there are several non blacks that attend Howard Univeristy, especially in the Graduate Programs. In case you were not aware No college or univeristy in America can discriminate on the basis of race. Please get your facts together. Thanks

February 1, 2010 at 10:55 pm
(15) Cory says:

An all white league? Awesome! Can’t wait to see it!

February 2, 2010 at 7:48 am
(16) Dave Seals says:

Dee, You Are Correct. Black colleges were established for Black students who were shut out from traditionally white colleges. For example Florida A&M (traditionally Black) and Florida State (years ago formally White Only), now share courses in Tallahassee. An added point. At the University of Alabama. Black players provided increased revenue. Read the bio of Bear Bryant. Also read about Jackie Robinson (and those who came after him), and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Point, the N.Y. Yankees were one of the last to integrate their team. They had money!

February 26, 2010 at 12:53 am
(17) White man says:

DNA analysis proves that we are all descendants from a common ancestor, and that white people are actually descendants of dark skinned people. Using the color of one’s skin, or the color of parent’s skin to determine eligibility for any activity instantly discredits the organizers of those activities, and is “skin color based selection”, which is offensive. Why not select based on ability?

March 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm
(18) Jay says:

As an African American, I actually disagree with this article. I believe the league marketed, catering all white players is not a crime. The league is right, in the open basketball world, our white counterparts have a more difficult time to play in these leagues. So, what really is the harm if the minority in basketball, develops a league so that they can play? Is that not African American’s do all the time? We are not talking about white people still being the majority in America. We are talking about basketball as a whole and no one on this blog can debate who dominates the sport of basketball.

Where I’m from there are Filipino Leagues, China Leagues and they are in America. Plus, why seriously are we worried about an all white league? Are you going to watch their games?

March 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm
(19) Matt says:

If it’s racist to have an all white basketball league, then it’s racist to have an all black television network (BET) or Miss Black America. Racism now is different then it was back in the day. I really find it hard for people to be offended by all black TV or all white basketball unless there really looking for something to 8itch about. Find a better way to spend your time.

September 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm
(20) Sean says:

White guys started the ABBA because of good American white players not being athletic enough for the NBA. They’re not in the league because of athleticism. Today’s game is build on athleticism more than ever!! Because the NBA rules implement that. To answer your question about why Chinese, Spain and Eastern Europe players getting in the NBA? They’re athletic enough to play and have better fundamentals than the Afro-American player!! If you watch the game today, most black players severely lack fundamentals. Is it all? No!!! But that’s the case most of the time. And are the ABBA breaking the rules? Yes. But I’m pretty sure they have connection all the way to the federal government to bypass that rule!!!

December 3, 2010 at 12:29 am
(21) Vaughn says:

Every sport has a street or inner city style. The NBA is renowned for their strict rules and regulations and does not target blacks, they target talent. The NBA does not have a separate set of rules for, black, white, latino or any other ethic group. To say that whites are the minority, simply implies that Don Lewis is ignorant;it doesn’t mean he is a racist. “Hey Moosehead, take at look at the U.S. Census….duuuuhhhh!!!!”. As of 2009 whites are the majority at a rate of 79.6%. Excuse me, isn’t top management of the NBA and the selectors of players white; so why would you say blacks run the league? There are many organizations geared toward certain races and cultures, who cares about an all-white basketball team? I certainly don’t. Oh yeah I forgot to mention Moosehead; Black Entertainment Television (BET) is not owned, nor is it operated by all blacks. There is this nice little building that many towns have; us black, athletic, street-ballers like to call it a library, you should try using it one day, then you would have known that BET is owned by Viacom, the same people that own MTV, Showtime, Comedy Central, CBS and etc. I think it is obvious, I don’t like you Moosey, because you are a coward. Just tell people the truth, you can create whatever you want and you don’t need the approval of the public. If you are not ashamed of your choices or decisions stand up for yourself! Instead you tried to side-step and throw out a bunch of false information and ignorant people like yourself would believe it. Tell the truth, you want a all-white basketball team because it is your constitution right as a red blooded American.

December 24, 2010 at 11:25 am
(22) Chris says:

I see no problem with this league either. Blacks can have anything they want because historically they were discriminated against.

There are black only universities, black only television stations, and basically a black only NBA. The NBA needs to admit that they are only interested in Black Americans and international players. If you are a white American that can ball, read the sign. Whitey in the stands, blacks on the court.

I can’t believe people are so naive and have absolutely no pride or dignity.

There is nothing wrong with having a private league that is all white. Look at the Harlem Globe Trotters (another all black league).

And don’t think for one second that there aren’t scores of talented athletic highschool white kids that don’t get a second look, because the coaches take one sarchastic look and conclude: Oh he’s white, he obviously can’t ball, is slow, can’t jump and shoo this kid away telling him, son we have no room for you son.

Keep it real folks. Its no wonder fans are leaving the NBA in droves. Thug ball and reverse discrimination run rampant in a sport.

June 27, 2011 at 8:07 am
(23) Santa says:

The person starting the league is just following the congressional black caucus!!!

August 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm
(24) Jon says:

The truth is that some white males have a hidden agenda, such as, former US President Bush and CIA Director Tenet’s exclusive “White Men’s” meeting on a decision to go to “War” in Iraq, “Mr. President “… its a slam dunk…” (Rash and Arrogant Decision Making Skills), it resulted in the needless Death, Injury of our Heros and Civilians or treasure failures.

It defies the known Sun Tzu, Principal Architect for “Art of War (or Competition)” for the last 2500 Years, (1800s) Major General Custer, other Southern Civil War Officers failed to adhere and meet the “Standard(s)” to there own demise.

September 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm
(25) Jon, Revised says:

Revising “…there…” for “…their…” and to add below,

Diplomat Henry Kissinger has made reference to Sun Tzu and the principles for the conduct of warfare has been the subject of serious study in U.S. military circles for many years. The Art of War as applied to business, sports, diplomacy and personal lives has been popularized in American business and management texts. Sun Tzu may be the most frequently quoted Chinese personality in the world today.

December 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm
(26) Brooklyn says:

“The AABA will emphasize fundamentals and not street ball” Doesn’t the NBA choose their players from colleges and not the “street”. Players from the college are taught their fundamentals by the white coaches.

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