Jazz's Kyle Korver discusses racism in the NBA, white privilege

Jazz player Kyle Korver isn’t one of the flashier players in the NBA, but Monday he revealed about how his time in the league has opened his eyes to many things.

Specifically, white privilege and his role as a white man.

In a piece for “The Player’s Tribune” titled “Privileged” Korver detailed how he feels the need to step up as more than an ally to the black community specifically.

“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?” Korver wrote.

“These are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. And I don’t think I have all the answers yet — but here are the ones that are starting to ring the most true: I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America.

“I have to listen. I’ll say it again, because it’s that important. I have to listen.”

Korver detailed how he felt when Thabo Sefolosha, who is his teammate with the Jazz and also played together with the Hawks, was arrested by New York police outside a nightclub in 2015 and suffered a broken leg in the process. Despite the fact that Sefolosha was injured and spent the night in jail, Korver admitted his first thought was why Sefolosha was at a club between back-to-back games.

“I thought, ‘Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.'” he wrote.

“Cringe. It’s not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex — the first thing to pop into my head.”

Korver went on to say he felt that he had let down Sefolosha — and ultimately let himself down too. But it wasn’t until Russell Westbrook’s incident with a Jazz fan that Korver was prompted to open up further on white privilege.

“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. …

“And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we’ve been discussing them since, I’ve really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It’s like — I may be Thabo’s friend, or Ekpe( Udoh)’s teammate, or Russ’s colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them.

“But I look like the other guy.”

Korver then called on people to be more than an ally to the black community and do more than say the right things or be a good friend. He asked for people to listen and to not turn a blind eye.

“I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable,” Korver wrote. “We all have to hold each other accountable. …

“And it’s about understanding that Black Lives Matter, and movements like it, matter, because — well, let’s face it: I probably would have been safe on the street that one night in New York. And Thabo wasn’t. And I was safe on the court that one night in Utah. And Russell wasn’t.”