On Whose Shoulders Do Charles Barkley & Shaquille O’Neal Think They Stand?
A “Black-Paper” by
‘Baba’ Amefika D. Geuka
December 11, 2014
I have been a ‘fan’ of the National Basketball Association (NBA) since 1950 when the New York Knickerbockers (“Knicks”) drafted Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton and Earl Lloyd as two of the first blacks to play in that professional league. ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton had gained fame and popularity playing with the Harlem Globetrotters and New York Rens; and Earl Lloyd had been a standout player for Syracuse University — 50 miles from my hometown, Utica, New York. For the past sixty-four years then, I have watched the best basketball players in the world ply their trade in the NBA. Among my all-time favorites were Maurice Stokes, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, Gus Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Bob Cousy, “Dr. J” Ervin, Moses Malone, Isaiah Thomas, “Magic” Johnson, Larry Bird, “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Michael Jordan, Andrew Toney, and Darryl Dawkins to name a few. In all those years there were three (3) players who in my opinion could play all five positions well enough to be a starter at any position: 1) Magic Johnson; 2) Ralph Sampson; and 3) Charles Barkley. In large part for this reason I had been a Barkley fan until his recent admission that not only does he routinely use the word ‘nigger’ in reference to black people, but he also ‘allows’ his white friends to use it! As if that wasn’t bad enough, Barkley exhibited diarrhea-of-the-mouth when he agreed with the jury’s decision to exonerate George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, and added insult-to-injury by agreeing with the (not-so)grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for murdering Michael Brown! I am still angry that black people did not rise up in righteous indignation against Barkley and demand that TNT fire him immediately!! After all, what Barkley had to say was infinitely worse than comments which had previously gotten Imus and “Jimmie the Greek” fired some years before.
Barkley’s absurdity might be attributed to the fact that he never had a strong, responsible male influence in his life, especially during his formative years. Shaquille O’Neal on the other hand, did have a remarkable father-figure throughout his life, yet he played the role of “amen-corner” to Barkley’s idiocy regarding both the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown tragedies. O’Neal should have known better, but insofar as he did not, he too should be terminated from his position as Barkley’s alter-ego on the TNT broadcast. It is ludicrous for black people to demand that a white person be fired for disrespecting blacks in a public forum, but give a ‘pass’ to low-lifes like Barkley and O’Neal when they spout even worse insults! We have got to do better than that. By continuing to flaunt those two miscreants before the public regularly, TNT is culpable for the statements, and perhaps is even a co-conspirator. After all, Barkley and O’Neal had to know in advance that their bosses at TNT would be accepting of their making the heinous comments, and might even have encouraged them. As a direct result of the Barkley/O’Neal fiasco, I no longer watch TNT’s coverage of the NBA on Thursday nights as my personal protest, and have noticed a ‘spill-over’ effect to NBA games in general. I seldom watch NBA games now even on ESPN or the occasional holiday network coverage, because one never knows when one is cheering for another ‘closet’ Barkley or O’Neal. I wonder how many others feel the same way?
Barkley and O’Neal are ignorant, selfish, and ungrateful. They think they are beholden only to themselves for having the size and skill to play ball at the professional level, and to the NBA for allowing them to earn huge salaries for playing a game. For example, I doubt that Charles Barkley ever heard of Sweetwater Clifton or Earl Lloyd; O’Neal may not have either. Neither appears to know that he stands on the shoulders of generations of proud, determined Black people who made tremendous sacrifices so that it is now possible for the two judases in question to have played in the NBA and be paid to babble incessantly on national television. Perhaps Kenny Smith and Isaiah Thomas can be asked to ‘tutor’ Barkley and O’Neal about the history of Blacks in America, from whence we’ve come, and what it took for us to be where we currently are. It should be mandatory for them to watch the documentary “Goodbye Uncle Tom” in its entirety to see what they have been spared. Neither of the two in question made any contribution to that progress, yet they have benefitted mightily!
If TNT refuses to do the right thing and fire Barkley and O’Neal, they should at least put a muzzle on both, and restrict them to commenting only on matters related to basketball; neither is qualified or competent to address any other serious or important subject.
Since I won’t be watching anymore, y’all let me know if this happens.