When on the cusp of the finale of the 2021 NBA season, the thoughts should be squarely on how the last two teams standing match up in their quest for the Larry O’Brien trophy. I too got caught up in the storylines and pondered aloud with the fellas about the strengths and weakness of the Eastern Division Champion Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Western Division Champion Phoenix Suns. While not two of the major media meccas, the two opposing franchises make for some intriguing possibilities. Will Chris Paul seize his opportunity for basketball immortality with a championship coronation? Does a back-to-back league Most Valuable Player award, coupled with a championship, make Giannis Antetokounmpo the new face of the National Basketball Association? With the real-life adversity faced by Suns’ Head Coach Monty Williams, how can we root against him reaching the pinnacle of his professional career? Will the realization of a chip unlock the superstar potential of both Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, thus making them the leagues premiere tandem? Those answers will be revealed as soon as one team tallies four more victories. LET’S GO!!!!
THAT should be the energy going in! But nah, real life had to step in and put the sport on the backburner. Rachel Nichols who for some is synonymous with the NBA because of her daily show “The Jump” and court side reporting chores at the most important games of the NBA season for the biggest media brand in sports, ESPN, ruffled a few feathers after a secret conversation was revealed for public consumption. During the audio recording from last year Nichols was overheard giggling over a comment regarding the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter while offering criticism to ESPN brass for considering Maria Taylor, an African American, to report on the sidelines of the NBA Finals over her. Her response was, “I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world—she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity—which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it—like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away. I just want them to go somewhere else—it’s in my contract, by the way; this job is in my contract in writing.” Some took those words with a grain of salt, saying the statement was out of context, nothing racial was hinted, just marking her territory and defending what she has built. So how can we say this gently? Can’t actually, just go in. For as long as many of us could remember a certain segment of society was viewed as the standard of beauty, but simultaneously act so ugly. Yet they get a pass. They can be the aggressor AND the victim. Yet they get a pass. They can shoot brothers in their own crib, lie about it, but still get hugs from his family and the presiding judge!! Lest we forget what the justification of the destruction of Black Wall Street was or the Emmett Till murder. Are those sentiments, right? Think hard? If not totally, are they real? Think truthfully!
Mariah Rose, daughter of ESPN reporter and colleague of Nichols pulled no punches in a recently posted a video to TikTok. “Let’s quickly talk about miss Rachel Nichols,” she began. “Let’s talk about how you’re related to Dianne Sawyer, arguably the queen of ABC. You are a woman in the sports world, and you sat there, and you laughed about the #MeToo movement, about your fellow women complaining about being sexually assaulted at work. Do you think that’s funny?
“What really got me is that you’re tired of the Black Lives Matter movement, because you weren’t tired posting about it or making your stupid little storybook monologues about it. Maybe instead of crying and calling Maria a diversity token you can direct that energy to the people that think there can only be one woman on that stage. And if we’re being real, Rachel Nichols is a subpar reporter. Subpar, boring, not great. I’m sorry your white privilege didn’t work this time. Maybe next time.”
Somehow the game got less fun. Over and out. Holla next week, til then, enjoy the nightlife.