Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash has responded to claims that he didn’t earn his new job.
After all, without any head coaching experience, did Nash really earn the spot? Did he earn the ability to be the months-long favorite, and to slide so seamlessly to the front of the line, ahead of (arguably) more deserving minority candidates?
Nash used his platform on Wednesday to address to controversy, downplaying his race’s role in the hire, but acknowledging that there are legitimate systemic issues in play here.
Part of the issue here is that these biases are so ingrained that it’s difficult for any person to consciously say, “Well, sure, your concern is real, but not this time.”
Especially if the person who’s downplaying things is the person who’s benefitted.
But give Nash credit here. He did not shy away from his privilege. He also didn’t even attempt to delve into the strange ideologies at play in the undercurrents. What does it mean to be a white NBA star in the first place? The expectations are immediately different, praise seems to flow at a different rate because of the so-called uniqueness of the endeavor, and Nash’s detector has likely been a bit off ever since he set foot in a majority-black profession.
Whether you believe he earned the right to lap the field, it is now Nash’s extremely difficult job to manage the personalities and on-court play of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, remaking the latter’s playmaking ability while massaging the former back into action at the NBA level.
This debate on legitimacy will rage on after Nash as it raged on before him. For now, the man has a tough task at hand, with plenty of jealous onlookers to both satiate and ignore.