Over the past few weeks UCLA Star Point Guard Lonzo Ball has been in the news not just for his great basketball talent, but his Father’s public persona. Now, this post is not about his father but it does center around Fatherhood as it relates to Athletics. I will use my race in this collection of words. Well, how do I begin? There is a LACK of Fathers in the African American Community and of course, it spills over into American Sports. Here is a quick example and this is no disrespect to the responsible parents. When a Black Male (Example) Sports figure win an award what parent is generally thanked by the young man? I personally hear, “I’d like to thank my MOTHER for always being there for me through thick and thin.” Each time I hear this very familiar comment, I almost feel embarrassed and ashamed. If we are all being honest, you hear the same thing that I hear. You already know its coming when the microphone is placed in front of them. There are some realities that we can’t avoid and the conversations will not always be comfortable. That said, there are layers to it.
Of course we know that Systematic Racism, Housing Discrimination and 80’s Drug Laws were each critical in the breakdown of THE BLACK FAMILY. We also know cases where some Programs crippled the Black Family and pushed Men out of the homes so the Women and Children could receive benefits, but I digress. We still see the aftermath of these Governmental injustices here in 2017, decades and generations later. Are any Black Fathers present? Yes, of course there are so please get out of your feelings and wait until you read the entire piece before coming to any conclusions. I’m well aware that Black Fathers are around. I never forget my 9th Grade Year on the Basketball Team when my Father made it to one of our home games. It felt great because he traveled a lot as a minister and was working a 3rd Shift job so he rarely could make it. When he did, I was excited. I wish all Black Kids could experience that feeling. I’m not saying none of our kids don't. I’m saying we are still lacking overall in this department and it’s evident on many levels of Sports in Black America.
As I come full circle, I’d like to briefly visit Lonzo Ball’s father Mr. LaVar Ball. Mr. Ball is VERY vocal and brash in regard to his sons ability. I might not agree with all of his tactics but he supports his sons and is their number one cheerleader. He also made it no secret that he wasn’t going to allow everyone to get rich off his kids talent. I respect this and in a perfect world, I wish every Black Child had their father in their lives and at every game possible. The Curry Family is like the legendary Television Sitcom The Cosby Show and we all understand that this is a rare situation. We love seeing The Curry’s Family Dynamics but we understand it’s not a day to day reality. Don’t get me wrong, when you go to Little League, High School, College and Professional games, there are some Black Fathers there. I’m simply saying once again, the famous “Thanks to my Mother for everything” speech should light a spark in EVERY Black Man who has a child playing sports and in general. It sounds so much better when a young person say "I'd like to thank my PARENTS." You should feel “Frustrated” when you hear anything different because your kid (s) NEED you, whether they ever tell you that or not.