By: Rick Wade –
Last month I joined Earvin “Magic” Johnson to watch the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center, and I became immersed in the excitement of a great NBA game.
My excitement would later turn into disappointment and anger as a result of the controversial statements made by Clippers owner Don Sterling.
All of his statements are troubling, but his most recent — that Magic Johnson hasn’t done anything to help the black community — is just dead wrong.
That Sterling — who has until May 27 to respond to the NBA’s charges and efforts to terminate his ownership rights — equates help with handouts shows his flawed and outdated understanding of charity and philanthropy. While Sterling gave an inconsequential amount of cash to the L.A. chapter of the NAACP to help dilute his well-documented record of racism, Magic used his millions to bring economic development to struggling black communities, to create businesses and jobs, to encourage black entrepreneurship and to inspire other black businessmen and businesswomen to invest in inner cities.
The protracted discourse this country has been having about race and the NBA offers a real opportunity to foster a more long-term solution to the economic disparity in black communities.
The NBA and players should work together to create more pathways to team ownership and more business opportunities across the league’s supply chain for African-Americans and other minorities. This would be good not only for the league and players, but for minority businesses, fans, and the many youngsters who aspire to 888Sport careers. I can’t think of a better person to help lead such efforts than Magic.
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About Rick Wade
Rick C. Wade is an entrepreneur, former deputy chief of staff for the secretary of commerce, and recently dropped out as a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in South Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @RickCWade. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
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