I was born in the state of Texas, when it was totally segregated. There were many places that we were not allowed to go, and we had to sit in the balcony in order to see movies. Our parents taught my brother and myself the rules for survival. At all costs, we were to avoid any confrontations or arguments with White people. There was hope that this kind of behavior would help us avoid being arrested or killed.
As African-Americans, we were Negroes then, tried to keep the lowest possible profiles. If some of them had any extra money, they might hide it in their homes, or they could go as far away as Houston or St. Louis to put it into the bank.
There was great fear of the Ku Klux Klan, and since they wore hoods, none of us knew who might be a member of that dreaded organization. Whenever they decided to do so, they would dress up in their robes, and come into the Negro community in order to burn houses and kill people.
So, African-Americans were always concerned about not only their own behavior, but also the behavior of all other African-Americans. In those days, and in those places, lynchings were not a crime, no matter how many people might be killed, and there would be no arrests.
Luckily, for us my family was able to move to New York City. In New York, we had much more freedom, but there was still a great deal of situational segregation.
I ﬁnally got to see the Harlem Globetrotters, and I thoroughly enjoyed their talents, and the fun things that they did. Later, I was disappointed, when learned that they were owned by Abe Saperstein. I wondered why they did not own themselves. Later, I learned that most arenas would not deal with them if their organization was owned by African-Americans.
However, as the years passed and African Americans became major stars in professional baseball, basketball and football, the ethnicity of the owners did not change. The rare exception is the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA team that is owned by Michael Jordan. The owners of teams in the NBA and NFL have agreed to contracts, which prohibit active players from even being minority owners of any of the teams. So, the situation is, that the people with the most talent will be forever prohibited from being owners.
There is a recent signiﬁcant change in the possibilities for African-Americans. Entertainer Ice Cube has started a league for retired NBA stars. This venture has proven to be very successful, and is continuing to expand. The rapid success will quickly lead to additional ownership possibilities.
I expect that LeBron James will eventually buy his own team, or that he will start his own league, when he retires from the NBA. He is an extremely successful businessman, who does his own thinking.
Additionally, I hope that other athletes will look for every possibility to become owners. Those who currently own these Teams point out that it is their stadiums and management skills, which account for the popularity of various sporting enterprises. They are wrong, it is the talent of the athletes that ﬁlls these stadiums. So, be an owner, if you can!