An all-white basketball league was proposed earlier in the week by a group calling itself the All-American Basketball Alliance. The league's commissioner, Don "Moose" Lewis, said that in "the culture today" you have to "worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch." Therefore, he said, he wanted to create a league that focuses on "fundamental basketball" instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color."
In a report from an Atlanta TV station, Lewis defended the league while NBA great Charles Barkley denounced it.
Radio host Bomani Jones conducted a lengthy interview with Lewis, and was able to probe the commissioner's statements and challenge the concept of the league more thoroughly.
Jones asked Lewis why the league would only allow white players. Lewis responded by saying that "what we're stressing here is a more fundamental basketball, which blatantly fits white players better."
Jones challenged the commissioner, asking, "why do you think it blatantly fits white players better?"
Lewis: "Well, because the facts speak for themselves. Look at the NBA, which is a very athletic-oriented style of play. Would you agree with that?"
Jones: "There are definitely good athletes in the league, but it's hard to get to the NBA if your fundamentals aren't strong."
Later on in the interview, Jones pressed Lewis on the issue of racism and segregation.
Jones: "How in the world is it not racist if you don't allow anybody to play but white Americans? It's segregated."
Lewis: "It's the same as a private club."
Jones: "But that would be segregated also."
Lewis: "The league is not segregated because we allow ownership of anyone, know matter what their color is."
Lewis: "But you won't let anybody play but white people.... If you say that only white people can play, I have no idea how that's not segregated."
Lewis: "I'll agree in a sense, yes it is segregated."
The radio host referenced a line that Lewis said earlier in the week, a claim that the AABA is "a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."
Jones: "What makes you think white people like fundamental basketball?"
Lewis: "I ran a league, and they like that fundamental style of basketball."
Lewis continued, expressing interest in a white-vs.-black game called "Snowball vs. Bro Ball." His exact quote:
"In the past 72 hours, I've been approached by two different parties to not only televise what we're doing, but to turn this into a reality show from the time we start all the way through, and at the end, have our white all-stars play a group of all-star black players, with the series called Snowball vs. Bro Ball.
Click HERE to listen to the entire interview. (The link is to an MP3 file.)