Race in the Present Day: NBA Employees Sound Off on Race and Racism

Kwame J.A. Agyemang, John N. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Resulting from the 2008 election (and 2012 re-election) of the first African-American President of the USA and the overrepresentation of African-American male athletes in American football and basketball today, it is possible that many Americans buy into the notion of a postracial society. Utilizing critical race theory as a lens, we interviewed five employees of an NBA franchise to better understand their perspectives on the topic of race and racism in American sport and society as a whole and, more specifically, how it has impacted African-American male professional athletes. This was a departure from the majority of the literature on this topic, which tends to focus on African-American male athletes in college sport. Our analysis of the data revealed three major themes: (1) the theme race matters, illustrated how race and racism persist in the NBA and broader society; (2) the theme moving forward concerned the participants' thoughts on how to go about dealing with race and racism in the future; and (3) the theme, LeBron James, was in reference to the backlash LeBron James received after deciding to play for the Miami Heat. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-32
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of African American Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • African-American male athlete
  • NBA
  • Qualitative inquiry
  • Race and racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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