Race in the Present Day: NBA Employees Sound Off on Race and Racism Academic Article uri icon


  • Resulting from the 2008 election (and 2012 re-election) of the first African-American President of the USA and the overrepresentation of African-American male athletes in American football and basketball today, it is possible that many Americans buy into the notion of a postracial society. Utilizing critical race theory as a lens, we interviewed five employees of an NBA franchise to better understand their perspectives on the topic of race and racism in American sport and society as a whole and, more specifically, how it has impacted African-American male professional athletes. This was a departure from the majority of the literature on this topic, which tends to focus on African-American male athletes in college sport. Our analysis of the data revealed three major themes: (1) the theme race matters, illustrated how race and racism persist in the NBA and broader society; (2) the theme moving forward concerned the participants' thoughts on how to go about dealing with race and racism in the future; and (3) the theme, LeBron James, was in reference to the backlash LeBron James received after deciding to play for the Miami Heat. Implications for future research are discussed. 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

published proceedings

  • Journal of African American Studies

altmetric score

  • 4

author list (cited authors)

  • Agyemang, K., & Singer, J. N.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Agyemang, Kwame JA||Singer, John N

publication date

  • March 2014