Culture of Hoops

Michael Jordan says he was a racist as a child

Image courtesy of cliff1066™/Flickr.

Image courtesy of cliff1066™/Flickr.

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories on the web mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton. Check it often and absorb the knowledge we’re dropping on you!

Michael Jordan didn’t travel the easiest of roads en route to becoming a college basketball star and an NBA legend.

And certain obstacles put a chip on his shoulder that, while it long since seems to have vanished, helped shape the athlete’s drive and competitive spirit moving forward, according to “Michael Jordan: The Life,” a new biography about the six-time NBA champion by sportswriter Roland Lazenby that hit shelves Tuesday.

Per an excerpt from the book, Jordan told Lazenby that he was suspended from school in 1977 after throwing a soda at a girl who called him the N-word.

“So I threw a soda at her,” Jordan’s quoted as saying. “I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people.”

Lazenby told Sports Illustrated that it appeared that the root of Jordan’s animosity came from growing up in an area of North Carolina where the Ku Klux Klan once had a large presence. NBC News

Michael Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, one year before the passing of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. 14 years later, he had this incident with the girl who called him a n-word. The country was legally integrated but it was still a shaky time for a society attempting to find a new normal.

This shouldn’t shock anyone. Many minorities of my parents’ generation can relate to having these feelings because of racist remarks or conduct from strangers, but it has not continued to taint their minds and hearts as they grew older and society changed. Unfortunately, we have no context for this excerpt but that’s the point: Buy the book to see more! That’s fair. The release couldn’t have better timing.

Edit: The comments by Michael Jordan came courtesy of an interview in Playboy Magazine. We can not give a direct link to a pornographic magazine column from our website, but a larger excerpt of the interview is available at The Grio as well as a direct link to the Playboy interview in question. – AL

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