Kyle Korver: ‘I have to hold my fellow white men accountable’
In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, Utah Jazz guard Kyle Korver reflected on white privilegeand race relations in the NBA.
Korver, 38, said last month’s incident between a fan and Thunder star Russell Westbrook caused him to reflect on his role as a white man in the league, adding he has “more in common” with people in the crowd than players on the court.
“What Im realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color.. Im still in this conversation from the privileged perspective ofopting into it,” Korver said. “Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easilyopt outof it. Every day, Im given that choice Im granted that privilege based on the color of my skin.”
The article, titled “Privilege,” touched upon a variety of topics, including his initial reaction to a teammates’ arrest in 2015. When Korver was with the Atlanta Hawks, teammate ThaboSefolosha was arrested in New Yorkfor allegedly interfering with a crime scene.
But Sefolosha suffered a season-ending leg injury during the incident and was found not guilty on three misdemeanor charges. Sefolosha, who is black, filed a federal lawsuit against New York City, accusing police of excessive force and making a wrongful arrest. Sefolosha later earned $4 million in a settlement.
Korver admitted he was “embarrassed” that his first thought to the incident was, “What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back?” rather than if his teammate was OK.
Korver said he’s asked himself what he can do to be part of the solution.
“I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable,” he said. “We all have to hold each other accountable. And we all have tobeaccountable period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a ‘safe’ space for toxic behavior.”
Korverreceivedpraised from LeBron James and others. James and Korver played together in Cleveland.
Salute my brother!! Means a lot. And like you said I hope people listen, just open your ears and listen. 🙏🏾‼️‼️ https://t.co/qBrd2H27x0 LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2019
This is amazing!! Im honored to have you as my teammate and my brother!! Folks please read and inform yourselves 💯🙏🏾 https://t.co/VLdX5dJWRq Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) April 8, 2019
Been covering professional sports for 25 years and I cant stress enough how rare it is for a white professional player to PUBLICLY speak this way. Privileged | By Kyle Korver https://t.co/iy63xcPE4r mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) April 8, 2019
My new favorite player @KyleKorver finding who you really are was overwhelmingly gratifying to read as tears filled up. For a lot of different reasons! #woke https://t.co/u7bSwaLlZ6 Kenny Smith (@TheJetOnTNT) April 8, 2019
This is seriously powerful essay from the Utah Jazzs Kyle Korver on the NBA and race and how his experiences as a white guy in the NBA have shaped his worldview. https://t.co/a4DchFPVdI pic.twitter.com/UBjo99ThVp andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) April 8, 2019