Kyle Korver had been thinking about it for a while.
Even before a fan was banned from Vivint Smart Home Arena for making degrading comments, the NBA veteran had been considering his role and responsibility as a white man in the NBA and in America in 2019.
This week the Utah Jazz forward shared his thoughts in a Players Tribune essay titled “Privileged”.
“… I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further,” Korver wrote. “I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do. 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? These are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately.”
The essay struck a chord with many.
Inside the Jazz locker room, Korver’s teammates lauded his honest self-reflection.
“I loved to read it,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “It was really impressive. I’m very happy that he opened up about it. It’s great to open up and it’s great that we can have that conversation.”
Korver’s words also resonated with others around the league and in the sports world at large.
Salute my brother!! Means a lot. And like you said I hope people listen, just open your ears and listen. ‼️‼️ https://t.co/qBrd2H27x0
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 8, 2019
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) April 8, 2019
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) April 8, 2019
Much Respect! https://t.co/868ilBJY58
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) April 8, 2019
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 9, 2019
Korver’s message extended beyond NBA circles, even drawing praise from Bernice King, the daughter of the late Martin Luther King. Jr.
“I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America….I have to listen…as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable. We all have to hold each other accountable.”
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) April 8, 2019
Thank you @KyleKorver for writing bravely about white privilege but especially for calling this out: ‘The person who does and says all the ‘right’ things in public … But in private? Well, they sort of wish that everyone would stop making everything ‘about race’ all the time. https://t.co/mR2vz2G3Mh
— Sunny Hostin (@sunny) April 8, 2019
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) April 8, 2019
The Jazz have had myriad discussions about race and racism, especially in recent weeks.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations in the locker room and at [meals] around that topic,” rookie Grayson Allen said. “It’s awesome for [Korver] to come out with that essay and it’s awesome for me as a young player to be in a locker room where so many players think about important topics and talk about them frequently.”
Korver joined his Jazz teammates Thabo Sefolosha, Ekpe Udoh and Georges Niang for one such conversation with the Players Tribune. You can watch the discussion here: