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COLUMN: Kyle Korver’s piece is a good start. Now what?



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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver is defended by Indiana Pacers guard Darren Collison in the first quarter of Game 7 during the Eastern Conference First Round series April 29, 2018, in Cleveland, Ohio.  Tribune News Service Buy Photos

Kyle Korver’s “Privileged” published for The Players Tribune on April 8, and unsurprisingly mixed feelings have ensued over the contents of the 2,697-word article.

Korver, now in his 15th season in the NBA, has made a name for himself as one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history. Now, he has decided to address racism within the NBA and some of his experiences concerning white privilege.  

Korver brings up a lot of good points and has obviously had his eyes opened to his own role in white privilege. However, it remains to be seen what will come as a result of this.

Korver begins his statement illustrating his backward thought process regarding an incident with his then-Atlanta Hawks, now-Utah Jazz teammate Thabo Sefolosha.

Sefolosha, a 12-year veteran and Korver’s longtime friend, was subject to what he and many others have called a case of police brutality.

Four years removed from the incident, Korver and Sefolosha are now teammates on the Utah Jazz.

The two, along with fellow Jazz players Ekpe Udoh and Georges Niang, sat down in a video with The Players Tribune to discuss racism in light of an incident that happened on their home court involving a fan and former MVP Russell Westbrook.

There’s a lot to unpack in Korver’s column and the video, but overall I think Korver’s intentions are good, and this has the potential to open up more productive discussions about white privilege.

Whether white people want to admit it or not, they are given certain affordances in this country that people of color do not have.

The article and video do a good job addressing common issues within our society. Being a white man in a league that is 75% people of color, Korver offers an interesting perspective in his role in tackling these issues.

What I got out of the article is that white people with platforms such as his simply need to do better.

Korver is surrounded by people of color on a daily basis, and in his article he admits he’s had the wrong mindset when it comes to inclusion and how he interacted with his teammates.

I can relate with Korver in the sense that in high school, I played football on a team that was comprised of mostly people of color. At the time, I didn’t feel the need to reach out to them because I simply didn’t relate to them. Now, I can see that this is not acceptable.

Was it inherently wrong for me not to reach out to my teammates from different backgrounds? I don’t think so. But what I needed to do and what Korver says all white people need to do now is to understand white privilege and do what you can to tackle racial issues.

I won’t tell you Korver’s column will have an immediate effect on the relationship between white people and people of color, but I think his message is solid, and at the end of the day, more white people with his platform need to address these issues the way he did.

Korver says that it is his job to listen to people of color and hold his fellow white men and women accountable, and that is true for all white people.

The piece itself is not going to change anything within our society, but this could be a stepping stone to opening up conversation and promoting inclusion.

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