The National Basketball Association announced a major change in the format of its all-star game, which will now pit a team comprised of the best black NBA players against the top white players. Since the first NBA All-Star Game in 1951 the mid-season clash has featured the best players in the Eastern Conference versus the best of the Western Conference. But starting with the inaugural Segregation Showdown at this February’s game in Houston, sides will be chosen by race.
David Stern, NBA commissioner since 1984, described it as an “innovative and logical” revamp to the event which, while unorthodox, will prove a successful American business decision.
“From the Civil War and Jim Crow to O.J. and Trayvon Martin, Americans have taken sides,” Stern said at the NBA’s Manhattan headquarters. “And this makes sense. Look at the Bible and a world history textbook, and then you tell me we don't belong to a naturally tribal species and society.”
The annual NBA All-Star Weekend festivities came of age with the slam dunk contest. Michael Jordan’s 1988 free throw line dunk to beat Dominique Wilkins. Cedric Ceballos’ blindfolded dunk in 1992. But fan interest--and TV ratings--are down since the competition’s 1980s and ‘90s heyday, and the NBA is always looking out for the next big thing in sports entertainment.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan, who is rumored to be a driving force to make the All-Star Weekend's ethnic adjustment, argued that the most satisfied, loyal fans are emotionally invested spectators.
“It is not a perfect world, and nobody is served by pretending it is,” the sometimes controversial Knicks boss said. “Now let’s let the NBA embrace what really makes America. Racism. Reverse racism. Indignation. And just imagine the free publicity the pissed off liberals are going to give us. Frankly, I’m more concerned with the mulatto problem.”
Will Team Black or Team White claim players such as LA Clippers superstar Blake Griffin, born to a black father and a white mother? Asked about Dolan's uncertainty for the placement of biracial all-stars, Commissioner Stern waived off the question.
“We’ve got hundreds of years of American history making this concern trivial,” Stern said. “For better or for worse, the one-drop rule easily reconciles that dilemma.”
Numerous NBA sources confirmed the only remaining worry about the league’s first Segregation Showdown this February is that Team White won’t be able to find enough players to field a respectable squad.