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Jordan: Considered myself a racist

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture
May 7, 2014 at 12:03pm
29 Comments

~~Michael Jordan reveals his past struggles with racism in a new autobiography about the NBA great released Tuesday.

In the book, titled "Michael Jordan: The Life," Jordan describes to author Ronald Lazenby how growing up in the 1970s in North Carolina -- where he said the Ku Klux Klan was dominant -- shaped his views on race.

 

Those views were strengthened after he watched the miniseries "Roots" and learned about the suffering of his African-American ancestors.

The tipping point, Jordan said, came in 1977 when a girl at his school called him the N-word.

"So I threw a soda at her," Jordan says in the book, excerpts of which were detailed in the New York Post. "I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people."

Suspended by the school for his actions, Jordan tells Lazenby that his mother intervened, urging him not to have racial hatred dominate his life.

Jordan also detailed how he was one of only two black players on the school baseball team and was called inferior while he played.

Jordan, now 51, went on to win six titles with the Chicago Bulls. He also took a break from the NBA to play professional baseball.

Former Bulls general manager Jerry Krause says in the book that Jordan was powered throughout his life by any negative experiences, including those in his childhood.

"He remembers everyone who ever didn't think he was going to be great," Krause said, in an excerpt published by Foxsports.com. "He remembers every negative story that's ever been written about him."

The book's release comes one week after Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, spoke out against Los Angeles Clippers counterpart Donald Sterling, who was taped making racing comments last month and since has been banned by the NBA.

"As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views," Jordan said in a statement. "... As a former player, I'm completely outraged.

"There is no room in the NBA -- or anywhere else -- for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level."

Little piece from that site we love to hate. Figured I would c&p to keep their page clicks as low as possible.

 

Denny's picture

Figured I would c&p to keep their page clicks as low as possible.

Yeah, don't do that.

Taquitos.

TheBadOwl's picture

Let's be serious here, taking a few dozen pageviews away from ESPN does absolutely nothing.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

-2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

another bit of exploitation from the Sterling thing. 

+1 HS
otrain2416's picture

"So I threw a soda at her"

I'm sure he really meant pop

 

+12 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

Interesting Jordan story: I heard Al Michaels tell a story on the Dan Patrick Show once about a time when he went golfing with Jordan and Joe Morgan in Hawaii. They had finished their round and were in the clubhouse getting a drink and there was a TV with SportsCenter on, but it was across the room from them. This was during the McGwire/Sosa home run race and Al Michaels and Joe Morgan were saying, "I wonder what they did last night" and Jordan looks at the TV and just reads off the stats in fine print on the TV from across the room and says," McGwire went 2-5 with 2 strikeouts, a home run and a walk and Sosa went 1-4..." Al Michaels said he was amazed because he and Joe Morgan couldn't even see what he was reading on the screen it was so small. And he said to Dan Patrck, if Jordan could read those words on that screen, just imagine how big the rim must've looked to him when he was playing.

+4 HS
vitaminB's picture

I thought this was going to be about Tracy Jordan.

+3 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

I'm a Jordan fan. Even if he hates my kind. 

+1 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Isn't his wife white?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Gametime's picture

Nah, she's Cuban - and apparently they just had a set of twin girls Victoria and Ysabel Jordan.

...I too dream in color and in rhyme
So I guess I'm one of a kind in a full house
Cause whenever I open my heart, my soul or my mouth
A touch of God rains out...

+4 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

NSIS. My take was that he was racist in his youth.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

+2 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

I took it that way as well. Just wanted to have some fun with it. 

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Jordan also detailed how he was one of only two black players on the school baseball team and was called inferior while he played.

Mike, we've all seen you play baseball and, well I've got some bad news...

+5 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Seriously? Dude played minor league ball after being out of baseball for >10 years, and made it to AAA by the end of the season. That's actually pretty incredible.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

-2 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

As a baseball player, Jordan was a marketing plan. He sucked and would have never been considered if he were not "Michael Jordan".

+3 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

He hit just over .200 in AAA, I know that would suck for a major leaguer but that's a hell of a lot better than what 99% of college players would manage. And Terry Francona, who was his manager that season, said that Jordan was starting to get the hang of it by the end of the season.

Also, in the E:60 about it, all of the White Sox scouts and farm system people at the time all said that, looking back, he would've made it to the majors if he was given another year in the minors.

TL;DR: Michael Jordan was a lot better at baseball than people think he was.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+2 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

It was a 30 for 30, but everything else you speak is truth. He was an average minor league player, he just played under a microscope. 

TheBadOwl's picture

Being an average minor league player after not playing baseball for nearly 15 years is insanely impressive.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

He hit just over .200 in AAA,

Jordan never played AAA ball. He hit .202 in AA. He wasn't close to being an average minor league player.

I'm happy that he had a chance to live out his childhood dream, he clearly enjoyed playing and it probably went a long way towards helping him heal after his dad's murder.

+1 HS
cdub4's picture

I do think Jordan gets knocked for his baseball stats too much. Most people could not bat .200 in AA baseball not having played in over 10 years. He was not far from average for a minor league player, there are rookie ball players and multiple levels of A ball, and some of those guys never make it to AA. Jordan also did not have the muscle memory and instincts of the average minor leaguer, and at 6'6 had a huge strike zone and was relatively slender. I think the way he performed was rather impressive considering the obstacles.

+2 HS
sharks's picture

When asked why he didn't speak up more for pro-black democratic causes, Jordan famously replied that "Republicans buy sneakers too."

Best basketball player in history, but Mike cares nothing about anything except his pocketbook.  Some revisionist history and indignation from His Airness here.

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

+4 HS
Nutinpa's picture

Yup.  The ultimate proof of Jordan's hypocrisy.

Black youths in the inner city's killing each other....literally.....to have a carload or even a box of Air Jordans.  I never recall hearing or reading anything he did for them or much for charity.  Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.  Two men who transcended race at the elite levels of their sport.  And by their actions, inactions, and commentary, two of sports' biggest assholes outside of the boundaries of their trade.

+6 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

Tiger has actually given back a lot to kids. He hasn't done as much lately but I now he used to have a youth golf program for inner city kids. 

BroJim's picture

Further proof black people can be racist. 

I season my simple food with hunger

+6 HS
OSU2002Grad's picture

Umm... further proof that black people has least had some rational basis for holding resentment towards an opposing race. And that it takes time to dissipate.

-2 HS
BroJim's picture

Interesting.  .  . Rational basis. I hope you're not suggesting that one's racism can go away or that black people can't be racist. That is colorblind.

I season my simple food with hunger

+2 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

He's just mad that his Tarheels didn't win the 2014 NAACP Championship like UCONN did.

+2 HS
MacG91's picture

He had a crazy childhood. 

Mac..yeah

+1 HS
EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I heard, when he was eight years old, he didn't like girls either.

Even for ESPN, this is a stretch to be considered a story.

 

+3 HS
William's picture

I can't really fault Jordan for his sentiments as a youth. He grew up in Eastern NC in the 1970s, which was a a damn tough place to grow up as a black kid. However I've met him (worked at a golf course in Pinehurst, NC where he was a member), and he is a total asshole, whereas Charles Barkley was one cool, down to earth guy when I met him working at the same course. 

+1 HS