Following Tuesday’s news that NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a lifetime league ban against Clippers owner Donald Sterling, VladTV spoke with Lord Jamar about his reaction to Sterling’s comments, his support for a recent article by Homeboy Sandman, and his view on the league’s decision.
“I feel like that’s a dude that got caught saying what a lot of people think and practice but we’re not privy to the behind the scenes conversations,” Lord Jamar said of Sterling’s remarks. “Dude is definitely a racist. Dude definitely has the mentality of a slave master. But if we sit here and act like he’s the lone gunmen in all of this then we’re only fooling ourselves. He stated himself that this is part of a culture he’s dealing with. This is a culture. This isn’t something that he just made up. This is something that exists within the stratosphere and class that he moves around in. So the fact that he was caught saying it is unfortunate for him, but to me it’s a blessing in disguise because it now puts Black people in a certain position. Now that this man has been caught as being openly racist towards Black people—and I told ya’ll that we was guests in the house of NBA prior to this and ya’ll was talking to me like I was ridiculous—now here we have a White man telling you that you’re a guest in the house no matter how much money you’re making.”
Referencing the Clippers’ players recent protest of turning their practice jerseys inside out, Lord Jamar said that’s “a lame response.” The Brand Nubian rapper also voiced support for an article written by Homeboy Sandman titled "Black People Are Cowards" on the matter of Sterling’s comments and the team’s response.
“How do we respond to this?” Lord Jamar asked. “I think turning our jerseys inside out is a lame response. I read an article from Homeboy Sandman. Excellent article. He pointed out certain things that I thought was hilarious as far as that protest was in the revolutionary tradition of Kriss Kross—who turns their stuff inside out? This whole argument about, ‘We gotta feed our families so we still gotta go out there,’ if all of them decided to not play today, ain’t nobody’s family gonna starve tomorrow. None of them. I don’t care, the lowest paid player is getting what? $350,000 a year or some shit like that. Ain’t none of them motherfuckers gonna starve tomorrow, next week, or the week after that. So all this shit about they gotta feed their family, that’s just a code word for selling out. That’s just a code word for saying, ‘We’ll do anything in the name of money. We’ll take any indignity. We’ll ignore any attack against us in the name of making money.’ Where do we draw the line? This is my question with a lot of things. Where do we draw the line?
“Anybody who felt that this was wrong could’ve boycotted the whole system,” he added. “Hitting people in their pockets, with all the withdrawal of support, of sponsorship, that’s what these people really understand. I’m not one who's down for marching and holding up signs and all that, but something as simple as withdrawing your support from that team and that owner specifically, that’s not that hard to do. As far as the players go, like I said, nobody was gonna starve tomorrow if they didn’t do it. Just like the brother said in his article, struggle requires struggling. We so soft right now. Where everything is about the comfort. You know, ‘Well how dare I protest? If I do that then there’s the chance that I’m gonna run into some kind of inconvenience.’ That’s what revolution is all about. That’s what making change is all about. You’re gonna suffer some inconvenience during change. There’s gonna be some growing pains. That’s just how it is.”
Lord Jamar On Sterling’s Lifetime Ban
“I mean that’s cool,” Jamar said of the NBA commissioner’s decision. “Like I said, he’s just one dude. It seems like something strong. Alright, they banned him. But at the end of the day, so what? He stands to make mad money from this just off the sale of the team. From what I understand he bought the team for like $12 million? He could now sell for maybe a billion dollars. So in his world, he’s still winning.”
Speaking more generally about the place of African-Americans in the NBA, Lord Jamar eventually referenced the notion of and book titled Forty Million Dollar Slaves by William Rhoden.
“So what a bunch of us play it?" he said of the NBA. "We had to be integrated into all of their sports. We always gotta fight to be incorporated into these sports or whatever organizations that most of the time start with White people and eventually we break into. Look at the symbol of the NBA. That NBA guy is a White dude. Who's that, Bob West or something like that?" he said, apparently referencing Jerry West. "Why isn’t the symbol of the NBA Michael Jordan who’s done [more] for the league probably than anybody?”
“This is what I was talking about with Allen Iverson as far as he couldn’t come into the league with all that Hip Hop style and attitude. It was very threatening to the White establishment. But it’s okay to have a Russell Westbrook who dresses like a weirdo, some sort of sissy. That’s okay.”