Connect with us

Race & Culture

NBA and WNBA Stars Recall Their First Encounters With Racism

The athletes have been called the n-word or called monkeys.

NBA and WNBA Stars Recall Their First Encounters With Racism
Credit: YouTube

To close out Black History Month, basketball players from the NBA and WNBA sat down with Bleacher Report’s Are You Listening series and discussed being called the N-word and other racially charged incidents.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson, Golden State Warrior forward Andre Iguodala and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal recounted facing racism as early as middle school.

“One time in middle school, a kid called me the N-word,” Beal recalled. “We were walking out of gym class, literally, and it was kind of weird why he even called me it. He just pushed me and called me the N-word.”

Other players explained other incidents of racism including being told to sleep outside to being compared to gorillas and monkeys.

“I been in games where people will show up in my jersey with a gorilla outfit on,” Brown told the sports outlet.

Are You Listening? is a platform about “amplifying the voice of the modern black athlete, embracing their humanity and choosing to practice empathy.”

Watch the full segment below.  


Dwyane Wade, Gabriel Union, EBONY Dwyane Wade, Gabriel Union, EBONY

Dwyane Wade and Supporting Men on Paternity Leave

EBONY Exclusive

How Olympic Bobsledders Elana Meyers Taylor and Aja Evans Protect Their Skin And Hair From Winter Freeze


DeMar Derozan, Instagram, EBONY DeMar Derozan, Instagram, EBONY

NBA Stardom Isn’t a Cure for Mental Health Issues

EBONY Exclusive

Lorraine Harris-Fox, De'Aaron Fox, NBA Lorraine Harris-Fox, De'Aaron Fox, NBA

Kings’ De’Aaron Fox Honors His Mom’s Breast Cancer Fight

EBONY Exclusive