There are too many Black athletes who refuse to hire other African-Americans. Considering how much money these guys earn, if they used Black professionals, it would have a huge effect on the African-American economy. Imagine how many Black real estate agents could earn commissions on the mansions purchased and sold by Black athletes. It makes no sense for us to keep crying over what we do not have, while we are steadily giving what we do have away to others.
As our young boys and girls are practicing their sport of choice, they should also spend some time learning how to practice collective economics. It is one thing to have millions of dollars, but knowing what to do and not to do with that money is far more important. Just ask Allen Iverson, Kenny Anderson, and Antoine Walker. Twenty year-olds need good advice on how to spend and invest millions of dollars. And they must be exposed to the fact that Black professionals can provide that advice. The Jerry Maguire’s of the business must get up every morning and thank their lucky stars for Black athletes.
I read a magazine article about one of our mega-millionaire ball players buying 22 pairs of shoes from a famous store that many Black athletes patronize. Of course, the store is not Black-owned, but what else is new? Anyway, the shoes cost $16,000. Throw in about 10 suits for a couple of grand each, and multiply that by 30 other Black professional athletes who frequent the store, and you’re talking about a serious positive cash flow. You know how we like to look good. Unfortunately, other groups know it much better than we do—and they sure do take advantage of it. They make it; we buy it—no matter how it looks.
I know there are competent White agents out there, but as Ware said in the article, “It’s no longer a question of ability, but one of opportunity.” Some White agents were crying foul when more African-Americans got into the game. In a television special, a White agent accused Black agents of “playing the race card” to get Black athletes to sign with them. He suggested Black athletes should select their agents and others who work for them solely on the basis of talent. Ironically, he was asking for a “level playing field.”
If Asian athletes comprised 70 percent of NBA players, we would see nearly 70 percent Asian agents. A similar scenario would prevail if there were a majority of Jewish or Hispanic players. Why are we accused of playing the race card when we suggest African-American athletes hire Black agents? (I wonder how many White athletes are represented by Black agents.) If we play it right, one day not only will we win the game, we win the championship.
(Jim Clingman is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.)
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