As you all know by now, the NBA world was ridded of a racist biggot owner that had no place in the greatest sport on earth... Thankfully.
With that in mind, I have been thinking of writing a post about how I grew up around racism throughout my own childhood. So... here it goes.
As a child, "stability" was not a word I was fortunate enough to experience. My mom was single for the majority, and didn't stay in one place for long. I was born in Portland, but by the age of four, she had moved us to Prineville Oregon. For those of you who have never been there, the best way I can describe it is, well, it's a "hick town". Let's just say that I had only seen one black person there from age four to age eleven.
(Before I go further, I would like to explain that many of the references and slang that I use here is for literary purposes only, and is not meant to be offensive or derrogatory by any means. It is used for others to learn from other's mistakes.)
The ages of 4-11 are incredibly sensitive times for a child because these are the ages where our minds are molded, opinions are developed, and peer pressure starts to mount. On top of that, living in a small town means that there is less for a low-income child to do, making him/her more apt to rely on friends for fun and conversation. Some healthy examples are playing sports, running around, learning to live off the land, etc. Some not-so-healthy ones are learning from other kids and adults about racial equallity. As a child, I played games [staff edit: named after racial and other slurs which we've redacted here]. And the "N" word was very common, not to mention the gay slurs as well. This is just how a racist and homophobic mind is developed in places like this.
What happened later became a blessing which I really didnt know was a blessing at that time. My mother moved us again. This time it was back to Portland. Now I was eleven, and I had no friends there. None. Mom didn't have much money either, so yet again, I had to find a way to stay occupied. Do you remember all of the Blazers billboards around town between '89-93? Well, the marketing did its trick on me. Who was this Clyde Drexler guy? He's all over the place! I watched my first game in the '89-90 season, (on Koin 6), and that was it. I fell in love with Rip City. Clyde, Terry, Jerome, Duck, and Buck... or better known as the best starting five in the NBA (according to my "Mr. Rogers", Bill Shonley.)
What happened as a result is I started playing basketball as well. I also started to forget that Black People were Black. I easily made Black friends wbich are still my friends today, which I value more than words can say. But I owe much of this to role models like those '89-90 Blazers that taught me about the value of ALL people. And that nobody deserves to grow up so messed up that they are unable to see the light.
Thank You Portland. Thank you to the Trailblazer organization. And thank you Mom for moving me away from that place.