This NBA Player’s Viral Essay On White Privilege Is Being Praised For Speaking The Truth

Even in the year 2019, racism exists everywhere including national sports teams. It was this realization that prompted one long-time NBA player to pen a powerful essay acknowledging his own white privilege and advocating for change on and off the court.

Kyle Korver has been an NBA star for the past 15 years and currently plays for the Utah Jazz.

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Korver has played for multiple teams including the Philadelphia 76ers, the Chicago Bulls, the Atlanta Hawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Utah Jazz.

Following a recent racially-motivated incident during a Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City game, Korver decided it was time to open up about his own white privilege in a powerful essay titled “Privileged.”

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Korver begins by talking about his regretful reaction to a teammate, Thabo Sefolosha, being brutalized by the police.

“When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little.

When they arrest him on a New York street, throw him in jail for the night, and leave him with a season-ending injury, you’d think it would sink in. You’d think you’d know there was more to the story.

You’d think.

But nope.”

He then recounts the incident during the Oklahoma City game when a fan yelled racist remarks at the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook.

“Everyone was upset. I was upset — and embarrassed, too. But there was another emotion in the room that day, one that was harder to put a finger on. It was almost like….. disappointment, mixed with exhaustion. Guys were just sick and tired of it all.”

The 38-year-old athlete talks about how being aware of one’s white privilege isn’t enough. There must be direct action in order for change to happen.

“I realize that now. And maybe in years past, just realizing something would’ve felt like progress. But it’s NOT years past — it’s today. And I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further.

How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country?”

And accountability is necessary.

“And we all have to be accountable — period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a “safe” space for toxic behavior.

And I think the standard that we have to hold ourselves to, in this crucial moment….. it’s higher than it’s ever been. We have to be active. We have to be actively supporting the causes of those who’ve been marginalized — precisely because they’ve been marginalized.”

Korver proposed additional actions for his fellow whites including acknowledgment of institutionalized racism.

“First, by identifying that less visible, less obvious behavior as what it is: racism.

And then second, by denouncing that racism — actively, and at every level.

That’s the bare minimum of where we have to get to, I think if we’re going to consider the NBA — or any workplace — as anything close to part of the solution in 2019.”

He ends the essay with one powerful line:

“Time for me to shut up and listen.”

Korver later shared his essay on Twitter where it has since garnered over 200,000 likes and more than 6,000 comments.

And people applauded the NBA player’s powerful words.

Fellow athletes were also eager to spread his message.

h/t The Players’ Tribune, BuzzFeed

Emily Burns

Written by Emily Burns

Writer and editorial specialist based out of Austin, TX.