I’m sure with Michael Jackson’s recent passing you’ve probably heard on average four MJ songs an hour. So I’m sure you’ve heard the 1991 hit “Black or White.” In it, a chromatically confused Jackson belts, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”
Paging Larry Bird.
In last month’s NBA Draft, the Indiana Pacers president drafted North Carolina agitator Tyler Hansbrough with the 13th pick. Another white dude. (The team has six: Jeff Foster, Troy Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Travis Diener, Josh McRoberts, and now Hansbrough.)
Bird talked to the Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz recently about the perception he’s stocking the fridge with mayo and milk.
“I don’t see race at all. I know a lot of it comes out of the brawl (in 2004 at Detroit), people think Indiana has to get all white guys, but I don’t buy any of that. I played in Boston, where it didn’t matter who came in or who left, it was who helped us win. (Late Celtics coach and architect) Red (Auerbach) never saw color. And I don’t, either. I just pick them. If we hadn’t taken Tyler Hansbrough, it would have been Ty Lawson. And if I could have gotten another pick (later in the first round), I would have taken Sam Young or Wayne Ellington.”
Or Chase Budinger.
I wrote back in January of the Pacers’ obvious shift to white players and the obvious reasons for it. When 50 percent of your roster is white, in a league where 90 percent of the players and 98 percent of the good players are black, it’s more than coincidence.
Perhaps Larry Legend, the NBA’s last white superstar, is trying to reprove the theory you don’t have to be black to ball.
Ahem. The Pacers – a franchise that reached the Eastern Conference Finals six times from 1994-2004 – have failed to make the playoffs three years running.
Sorry, MJ. Maybe it do matter.