“How did we get a roster that resembles the 1955 Lakers?” – Civil rights leader Tyrone Terrell to the Minnesota Star Tribune last Sunday.
Tyrone Terrell, the chairman of St. Paul, Minnesota’s African American leadership council, is upset because he thinks the Timberwolves have too many white players. He had this to say to the Minnesota Star Tribune Sunday:
“I think everything is a strategy. Nothing happens by happenstance.” That strategy, Terrell and others in the black community believe, is to sell tickets to the Wolves’ fan base, which is overwhelmingly white.
Acccording to the Tribune, another Minnesota civil rights figure agrees:
Ron Edwards, a longtime Minneapolis civil rights advocate, said he remembers a day last winter when he was watching the Wolves and the only black player on the floor was Wes Johnson, a situation he calls “somewhat disturbing.” His sentiments grew stronger, he said, as he watched the team’s roster grow even more white this offseason.
“It raises some real questions to me about what’s really intended,” Edwards said. “I think, personally, that it was calculated. Is this an attempt to get fans back in the stands? Minnesota, after all, is a pretty white state.”
Terrell calls it “scary” that the Wolves would assemble a roster almost 70 percent white in a sport so dominated by blacks. For Edwards, the numbers trouble him by the “historical view,” what he calls a “nullification of diversity and a reversal of history.”
I’m no expert, but I’m not sure if I buy that too many “others in the black community” believe that most white Timberwolves fans are racists.
I assume that with players from Russia, Montenegro, Spain, and Puerto Rico, along with five American black players and five American white players, the ‘Wolves are one of the most diverse teams in the NBA.
I also assume that these activists forgot about Minnesota signing Nicolas Batum to a max offer sheet this summer (Portland matched), and their aggressive pursuit of Jordan Hill (he re-signed with the Lakers).
Current ‘Wolf Brandon Roy provides the voice of reason:
“It’s just basketball,” Roy said. “I never really had to feel like I’m the only black guy out here. I’ve played on teams that maybe had all black guys and the feeling is just the same when I’m out there on the floor playing with these guys.
“The only problem we have is in the weight room, arguing over what music we’re going to listen to.”
If I understand him correctly, no one should get too worked up about an attention-seeker like Terrell and his 15 minutes of fame.
But, it’s worth noting that the 1955 Lakers, to whom Terrell alludes, lost to the Fort Wayne Pistons in the championship series, 3-1. I think Minnesotans of all races would be thrilled with that type of roster this season.