ESPN personality Bill Simmons has been a fan of the NBA — and specifically, the Boston Celtics — for a long time. That's what makes what he said during a segment with colleague Jalen Rose discussing "Summer is Serious" — a Nike promotion featuring user-submitted videos of basketball players in an effort to be selected for a pickup game featuring Kevin Durant and James Harden — all the more strange.
While watching tape of prospect Wayne Washington Jr., Simmons asked Rose, "Where do you stand on cornrows in 2013?" Rose was quick to correct Simmons, "Well those aren't cornrows!" Simmons responded, "Well whatever...dreads." He then tried to cover his error again, "The dreads I should've said." Washington Jr. took note and took the Grantland.com editor-in-chief to task on his personal blog (the contents of which can be seen in full here.) Some of the things Washington Jr. took issue with:
Bill you’ve covered the NBA for how long? You’re 43 years old. You don’t know the difference between Allen Iverson’s cornrows and Kenneth Faried’s dreads? To make matters worse, when corrected by Jalen you responded with “or whatever” in a laid back attitude almost to say “ta-may-toe, toe-mah-toe”. That’s something I would expect from Bill O’Reilly not you Bill Simmons. These elitist brush offs of black culture are far too familiar.
Three weeks ago, before you and Jalen ever made this video I decided to cut my dreads off. Rather than continue to fight against prejudice and preconceived notions, I choose to cut my hair. I simply grew tired of rolling the dice on being judged by my hair rather than my skills and personality. My hair was a part of me and the decision was not easy, but after hearing you Bill Simmons make those comments I was reassured I made the right decision for my future. Sadly people associate certain stereotypes (thug, marijuana smoker, “stinky”) with a natural hairstyle.
The whole situation makes one wonder what former Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks.
Finally, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was caught ogling a young lady on the sidelines during an exhibition game last week.