Stephen A Smith almost burned down Twitter entirely with his reaction to the Brooklyn Nets’ surprise hiring of Steve Nash.
In this clip, he takes a flamethrower, fills it with liquid-hot magma, and then fires it into a sandstorm, resulting in one of the most blistering and outrageous takes to ever be shared on the internet.
I love Steve Nash! But……. pic.twitter.com/lo73hhoM0q
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 3, 2020
Certainly there’s disparity between black and white men when it comes to coaching and front office positions in the major American sports. The NBA does better than other leagues when it comes to overall diversity, which should be the case considering the proportion of black players compared to white/European guys, but a large majority of the coaches are white, a number further skewed by the recent firings of Alvin Gentry and Nate McMillan.
In this case, there needs to be some context. Steve Nash was a player-development consultant with Golden State when Kevin Durant was there. According to multiple people citing previously-written stories, the two hit it off and created what is considered to be a very good relationship.
And at the New York Post, Brian Lewis wrote this RE: Nash and Kyrie –
Irving, meanwhile, has known Nash for years and backed the hire.
“Ky and I have history, not only being two point guards, but he is one of my favorite players to watch,” Nash told ESPN. “He and I spent a couple days in the gym, I believe it was 2015, in New York City working out. There is a respect and admiration there for me. For me and Ky, our relationship is important.
“He is the point guard and I’m the coach, and I’m thrilled I get the opportunity to know him better and to understand him, how he plays and what he sees and be here to help him refine his gifts.”
It’s pretty well understood that Durant and Irving were more than happy with Steve Nash coaching them, and so the white general manager (Sean Marks) and Asian owner (Joe Tsai) made it happen.
Nash is a former MVP but has zero coaching experience at any level. So yes, that sucks for someone like Jacque Vaughn, who did a nice job with the Nets after Kenny Atkinson was fired and does have previous NBA coaching experience. It sucks for Sam Cassell, Tyronn Lue, other black assistants with qualifying resumes.
But there are plenty of examples of black men following the Steve Nash route and going directly into head coaching positions without the requisite experience. Mark Jackson, Doc Rivers, Isiah Thomas, Jason Kidd, and Derrick Fisher all got these gigs in the same fashion. Stephen A doesn’t mention that when talking about Nash and white privilege, nor does he mention that Nash isn’t even an American. He’s Canadian who was born in South Africa.
To summarize, it seems as though two black men told a white GM and Asian owner that they were cool with this white coach, not because he’s white, but because they have a good relationship with him and think they can be successful playing for him. That results in other, more-qualified coaches of color losing out, but Nash didn’t get the job because he’s Caucasian.
Charles Barkley would seem to agree:
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 4, 2020