Charles Barkley On If Steve Nash Hire Was White Privilege
Steve Nash was named the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday morning. The announcement was unexpected, to say the least.
Nash, 46, has no head coaching experience. This prompted many to wonder if Brooklyn’s decision to immediately put him at the helm of a championship contender featuring Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving was race-related.
ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith literally made that case during Thursday’s episode of First Take.
“This is one of the toughest positions I’ve ever had to take,” Smith said on the air.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no way around this. This is white privilege. This does not happen for a Black man.”
I love Steve Nash! But……. pic.twitter.com/lo73hhoM0q
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 3, 2020
Smith’s take immediately sparked a ton of back and forth conversation regarding its validity. One of the loudest voices to oppose him was NBA legend Charles Barkley.
“What happened to Doc Rivers?” Barkley asked.
“What happened to Jason Kidd? What happened to Derek Fisher? … When you have a responsibility. Especially when you talk about some serious issue as race, you can’t be full of crap, you got to be honest and fair.”
NBA ratings noticeably declined after last week’s stoppage. https://t.co/DzvGJoEOjh
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 2, 2020
To Barkley’s point, all of the examples he cited were of black coaches getting a head coaching opportunity with no real head coaching experience.
“Steve Nash is a great player and a good dude,” Barkley continued.
“But I was so disappointed with all these guys. Dude, black guys have done this before. Do we need more black coaches in the NBA? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in college football? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in pro football? Yes. But this wasn’t the right time to shut it today. Good luck to Steve Nash.”
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 4, 2020
While Barkley’s points are largely fair, he also side-stepped Smith’s argument a bit. Smith argued that it is about more than the opportunity to coach. It is about the opportunity to coach in a great situation right off the bat.
Nash will step into an amazing slot next season, but it will come with immense pressure. There will be no acceptable level of growing pains.
When you have Durant, Irving and the privilege of playing in the four-team deep Eastern Conference, the bar for failure is a low one.
Nash will need to succeed – and he will have to do it quickly. Otherwise there will be a line of potential successors, black, white and everything in between, lined up to take his spot at the helm of one of the most intriguing franchises in all of the NBA.