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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

NBA Draft experts will lie to you and use racially coded language

LaMelo Ball and other top prospects in this year’s draft have been playing outside the public eye.
LaMelo Ball and other top prospects in this year’s draft have been playing outside the public eye.
Photo: (Getty Images)

If you’re a basketball junkie like myself, then the NBA Draft is an annual can’t-miss event. The high school kids and foreign players you heard/read about, along with the players you watched in college, are days away from finding out where they’ll start their careers.

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I love the draft so much that I kept up with the 2002 edition via “the internet” on a Nextel i1000 flip phone during a church youth convention in Atlanta.

Do you know how hard it is to refresh the internet on a phone that has an antenna when everyone around you is busy catching the Holy Ghost?

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That’s dedication, folks.

But as much as I love basketball, I’m completely lost about anything that will take place on Wednesday night during the first virtual NBA Draft. I’m also here to inform you that most of the experts on TV and radio have no idea what they’re talking about either, as this will go down as the weirdest draft in NBA history.

If you forgot, the NCAA Tournament was canceled this year. So all the “March Madness” moments and the draft darlings that the tourney annually produces don’t exist this year. This was also always going to be a weak draft. Some draft classes just aren’t filled with future Hall of Famers or multi-time All-Stars at the top.

And when you throw in the fact that the guys at the top of this class either went to schools that barely played on TV (Anthony Edwards – UGA), only played three games due to the NCAA’s dumb rules (James Wiseman – Memphis), or have been playing overseas/at prep schools for the last two years (LaMelo Ball) it doesn’t give fans much to work with.

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And oh yeah, there’s also been a global pandemic that pushed the entire draft process back five months.

Nobody is a draft expert this year, trust me. Don’t believe me?

ABC is showing draft coverage this afternoon, and I guarantee that if you watch it you still won’t learn much or anything at all.

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For instance, the top-10 players The Ringer has listed in their latest mock draft only played a handful of games on national television last season. The same can be said for Sports Illustrated’s list, as it includes freshmen, international players, and a few sophomores like Obi Toppin.

Toppin is a 6-foot-9 prospect that averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season while shooting 63%. He swept the Naismith and Wooden Awards as the best player in college basketball.

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He also went to Dayton.

When is the last time anybody watched Dayton play basketball?

But another reason why this week will be filled with rumors and terrible predictions and analysis is that the NBA’s trade season starts on Monday. Trades and the NBA Draft go together like lemon pepper on chicken wings, they just always seem to find a way to link up.

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See, it’s already started.

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This week also starts a crazy run to a season that will tip off next month.

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Twitter will be the place to be for information, rumors, and of course, the jokes. Journalists like Marc Stein, Chris Haynes, Shams, and Woj are who everyone should be following this week for breaking news. While Josiah Johnson, the king of Twitter, will be the place to go for humor, as he’s already gotten the jokes started on a rumor about James Harden being recruited to Brooklyn to play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

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However, there is one thing that I know for certain that will happen on Wednesday night, and it’s the coded language and lazy racist comparisons that are always used.

If you close your eyes and just listen to the broadcast you can tell what race a player is without looking. Terms like “God-given talent” “athletic,” and “length” are always associated with Black players, and anybody described as a “hard worker,” “competitor,” or has “surprising athleticism,” is definitely White.

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You know things are crazy when flawed stereotypes are the only thing you can count on.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.

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