Creighton basketball alumni and Utah Jazz shooting guard Kyle Korver posted a piece titled “Privileged” that examined his role in 2019’s racial climate as a white man in the majority-black NBA.
The article was posted Monday on the “The Players’ Tribune,” a website founded by Derek Jeter that “provides athletes with a platform to connect directly with their fans, in their own words.”
Korver begins by recalling the 2015 incident during which his Atlanta Hawks teammate Thabo Sefolosha was arrested by the New York Police Department and broke his leg when officers pushed him to the ground.
According to the “New York Times,” Sefolosha settled with the City of New York for $4 million to dismiss the incident with no admission of wrongdoing by the NYPD.
Korver describes Sefolosha as a good friend and explains how his first thought was that if he were the one out that night, he would not have been arrested due to the color of his skin.
However, Korver doesn’t hide his complacence to the injustice done to Sefolosha, “When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little… but nope.”
Fast forward to March 11, when Russell Westbrook of the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder got in an altercation with a Utah Jazz fan. Westbrook said he was responding to racially charged comments from the fan.
The next day, Jazz players and administration met to discuss the incident, which led to Korver contemplating his place as a white player in the racial atmosphere of both the NBA and greater society, something that the Sefolosha incident did not compel him to do.
“It’s like — I may be Thabo’s friend, or Ekpe’s teammate, or Russ’s colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them. But I look like the other guy,” Korver writes.
Throughout the piece, Korver examines his role within the conversation, and what he can do as a white man in the NBA, an organization that counts more than 75 percent of its players as people of color.
Despite the contributions of African-Americans and other minorities to the sport, he argues they are still disadvantaged. “I probably would’ve been safe on the street that one night in New York. And Thabo wasn’t. And I was safe on the court that one night in Utah. And Russell wasn’t.”
Korver concludes by summarizing his thoughts on what he can and should do as a white man with a platform to combat the racial injustices still being perpetrated in America.
“The fact that inequality is built so deeply into so many of our most trusted institutions is wrong. And I believe it’s the responsibility of anyone on the privileged end of those inequalities to help make things right.”
Korver played for the Bluejays from 1999-2003, where he was an All-American as a senior and ranked fourth on Creighton’s all-time scoring list and first in three-pointers made, which is also tied for sixth in NCAA history.
Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2003, he has also played for the Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers and currently the Utah Jazz.