Amateur Racism

NBA basketball, well all basketball, well, really, all sports are not what a metaphysical philosopher would call “important”. University of Michigan* professor Yago Colas’ deconstructing criticism of LeBron James to reveal the inherent class and racial biases in perceptions of modern basketball is important. You don’t need to care about the NBA or LeBron James to need to read this post. You simply need to care about how our cultural idioms reinforces social inequality – and, if you don’t care about those things…WOW:

Referring to the athlete who plays for the love of the sport, the concept [ameteurism] came to imply…the amateur is motivated by rewards intrinsic to the sport, rather than by extrinsic rewards such as fame or money…This effectively kept working class athletes, who had neither the resources nor the leisure time, from challenging upper-class domination of sport so that, in effect, amateurism “established a system of ‘sports apartheid’ with white males from the upper classes enjoying the advantages.”

Because the amateur ideal took root in basketball culture while the sport was still segregated, the values came unconsciously to be associated with whiteness.
Yago Colas, “On LeBron James and Coaching”

I also thoroughly endorse Yago’s suggestion that LeBron become the first player-coach-owner in forever.

*It take a lot for me to say nice things about the State Up North. GO BUCKS!!!

Author: Josh Witten

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