Michael Jordan made a name for himself in the sports world, but it wasn’t easy.
The college basketball star, and legend of the NBA, admitted in his new biography Michael Jordan: The Life, written by Roland Lazenby, that he used to be racist against white people.
After being called a n**** by a girl at school in 1977, Jordan said he threw a soda at her and was basically against all white people. “I threw a soda at her,” the excerpt read. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.” After being suspended from school, Jordan’s mother encouraged him to let go of his hate.
After listening to Jordan’s story, Lazenby revealed to Sports Illustrated that most of Jordan’s animosity came from where he lived. Jordan grew up in a small town in Northern North Carolina, where the Ku Klux Klan had a strong presence.
“I’ve been to North Carolina hundreds of times and enjoy it tremendously, but North Carolina was a state that had more Klan members than the rest of the Southern states combined,” Lazenby said. “As I started looking at newspapers back in this era when I was putting together [Michael’s great-grandfather] Dawson Jordan’s life, the Klan was like a chamber of commerce. It bought the uniforms for ball teams, it put Bibles in all the schools. It may well have ended up being a chamber of commerce if not for all the violence it was perpetrating, too. A lot of the context just wasn’t possible to put it in a basketball book. A lot of it ended up being cut.”
While Jordan, now 51-years-old, says he is no longer racist, there are some people who still have an issue with race today. Just last week, Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, made racist comments that grasped the attention of millions of viewers. When Jordan heard what Sterling had said, he criticized him saying that he was appalled that ignorance still exists.
“I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views,” Jordan said. “As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed.”
“I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport,” Jordan continued. “In a league where the majority of players are African American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”
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