NBA legend Oscar Robertson feels that athletes of all races should take a stand on social issues.
Oscar Robertson, sitting with fellow legends Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the NBA Awards show, stated that he is feels encouraged to see LeBron James continue to take a stance on today’s social issues. Robertson then implored white athletes to take a bigger stand as well.
Speaking to a gaggle of reporters after accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award Monday night, Robertson spoke in great detail after being asked about how players of his generation engaged in social activism and whether he’s proud to see some current stars in the NBA attempt to make changes for the better in the community.
“I think that as people evolve, and things are changing so much in the world with social media and whatnot, these people are young people who have families,” said Robertson. “They’ve seen some injustice in the streets or wherever it might be, it might be almost anywhere, and they’re stepping up. But the only thing that really bothers me is where are the white athletes when this is happening?
“This is not a black athlete problem. You see injustice in the world. It’s all around you. Just because LeBron steps out, I’m glad he does. I hope some other players, because this is what they believe, I mean, what do you want players to do? Shut up and dribble? I think it’s time for them to say what they want to say about life and about politics and things about the street and whatnot. And about education.
“They’re a lot of players donating money back into different colleges. But it seems that what we have today is a system where you don’t want players to say anything at all.”
Robertson was raised in a segregated housing project in Indianapolis, dealing with economic inequality and racial discrimination. Robertson played during a time when stars like Russell and Abdul-Jabbar repeatedly spoke out about civil rights, fighting for social change.
“Years ago, athletes didn’t say anything because they couldn’t say anything,” the 12-time All-Star and former MVP said.
“But now I hope they all, the whites and the blacks get together. Even with football. What do you think is going to happen when the union gets involved with the owners?
“You think it’s going to be settled really easily? No, it’s not. It’s going to be nothing but a total mess.”