Before Stephen A. Smith gave his thoughts on the Brooklyn Nets hiring Steve Nash as their head coach on ESPN’s First Take last week, he prefaced his comments by emphasizing how much respect he has for Nash.
He made it perfectly clear how qualified Nash is from a basketball acumen standpoint. But his ultimate standing was that this is yet another outstanding case of white privilege.
Steve Nash is not backing down from the conversation around race in NBA coaching: "I have benefited from white privilege. Our society has a lot of ground to make up."
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) September 9, 2020
That reality is undeniable. Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks was one of Nash’s teammates on the Phoenix Suns. This alone points to the particular privilege of Nash, the former two-time MVP with zero NBA coaching experience to date.
It’s enough to be upset that Nash has ‘skipped the line’ and made his way right into a top position without having to prove a thing.
The only problem is that Steve Nash has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone in terms of his basketball knowledge.
“I haven’t grinded it out as an assistant coach, like many people’s path, but there’s a precedent for players who have strong careers, who are leaders, anchors,” Nash said. “I think to get this opportunity, as Steve Kerr and many other people have had great success, it’s a unique situation, I think. But I definitely realize that I need support. I’m going to hopefully bring a lot of qualities and skills to the table that are unique and strong, but I’m going to need support and a collaborative staff that has a lot of experience and is willing to build this with me.”
There are qualified and capable black coaches in the NBA that should be given opportunities. They know the game as well. There is both white and basketball privilege at work here, but I feel that one is outweighing the other in this particular instance.
Watch my full reaction below.