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NAACP: 'We Will Stop All-White Basketball Team'
Tough Questions For League Founder
POSTED: 12:43 am EST January 22, 2010
UPDATED: 9:30 am EST January 23, 2010
ATLANTA -- An Atlanta man plans to start a professional basketball league for only white players and white coaches.NBA great Charles Barkley has never been one to hold his tongue. He had a lot to say about the proposed All-American Basketball Alliance for whites only."It's just blatantly racist because if you look at the cold words he used, trying to say we're carrying guns, fighting people in the stands, things like that," Barkley said.Don "Moose" Lewis is the man behind the AABA.Lewis said he's not a racist, he's a sports promoter."I think Charles is a great character, he's amazing and what he says, and he's a little off the wall too, but he has his opinion," said Lewis.Lewis' background is in boxing. He even tried to start a conventional minor basketball league in the past that failed.CBS Atlanta asked Lewis if the league is racist."No," replied Lewis.Lewis said white players are being shut out of the NBA.In order to play in the AABA league, players must be born in America, both parents must be white and the players must keep their tattoos to a minimum.Lewis said, "It's not going to be the street-type ball mentality and show, it's going to be different."Sir Charles said he isn't buying it."It lets you know, as a black man, there are people out there who don't like you," said Barkley.Lewis said you don't have to be white to own a team in the AABA, but you do have to be white to play and to coach.The NAACP in Atlanta is vowing to do all it can to stop the all-white basketball team.The group says it's a major step backwards in the fight for civil rights and it may take legal action."My general reaction is it’s ridiculous,” said Rev. R.L. White, president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.Ridiculous maybe, but White admits he is worried. He fears a plan to form an all-white pro basketball league may set off racial tensions.“We're going to be watching this very closely because it attempts to set back what we've been trying to do for 100 years,” said White.Lewis says he's not a racist, but believes white basketball players don't have the natural talent that blacks do. He said his new league will allow teams to be more evenly matched.“If it quack likes a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck, it probably is a duck. If he is not racist, he's appealing to racist tendencies in others,” said White.Lewis admits he is looking for publicity and has drawn a lot of attention in the last 24 hours or so. But he's serious about the new league, one he says middle white America can relate to.“If we can do anything to stop it, we will,” said White.
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