Welcome To The Comfort Zone

By Dexter Rogers, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 15, 2010

INDIANA (BASN) — It’s rather bewildering why owner Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert has his sights set on Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to lead his team.

Is Izzo the best available head coach? Is he even qualified for the job?

Typically when changes are made to an organization they attempt to upgrade from the previous season. How can courting Izzo with such a fierce persistence be an upgrade over the guy they fired in Mike Brown?

Izzo isn’t the best candidate to coach LeBron James. I think Byron Scott should get the job. No, not because he’s African-American but because he’s more qualified to lead the team than Izzo.

Izzo is being treated like royalty as he mulls the decision to take the job or not. But most are overlooking the real reason why Izzo is being courted to the hilt by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

Izzo is the top-dog is because of the “good ole boy network.”

Allow me to explain. A much overlooked part of this whole equation is Gilbert and Izzo are “Michigan State men.” They share something major in common. In addition to sharing an affinity for a university they also have shared complexion which is while this connection may actually manifest.

Hold your horses. I know the NBA has done the best with respect to hiring and promoting African-Americans. The league is 75 percent African-American from a player-representation standpoint.

There were eight African-American head coaches this past season (including the fired Brown) and one African-American sole owner in Michael Jordan. While these numbers seem great we must look beyond the obvious to establish greater clarity.

The courtship of Izzo is a direct result of institutionalized racism. It’s about an owner and a college head coach who are old cronies. Just because Izzo and Gilbert are “Michigan State men” and share the same complexion doesn’t mean Izzo is better qualified to lead the Cavaliers that Byron Scott.

In essence, it’s not about Izzo being the right man for the job, it’s about him being the white man for the job. Late last week Gilbert rolled out the carpet for Izzo. He was flown in and courted as if he has as many rings as Phil Jackson.

He’s reportedly been offered over $6 million to coach in a league where he doesn’t have a track record. Izzo led Michigan State to the National Championship in 2000. He’s also led the Spartans to six Final Fours.

Izzo played basketball at Northern Michigan University from 1973-77.

He never played in the NBA.

Meanwhile Byron Scott is the clear second choice.

While Izzo got the royal treatment Scott merely had a one-hour phone interview. Last time I checked Byron Scott has won three rings as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1985, 1987 and 1988.

Last time I checked Scott coached the New Jersey Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals in 2001 and 2002. Last time I checked Scott helped to shape Chris Paul to be one of the best point-guards in the NBA.

On pure overall credentials who can logically assert Izzo is better suited to lead the Cavaliers to the next level over Scott? The only thing Gilbert and Scott don’t share is the fact “they are Michigan State men.”

Translation, Gilbert and Izzo can make the connection because of shared complexion. It’s the “good ol’ boy network” working at its finest.

This is vital because African-Americans lack the intimate connections whites have at executive level and ownership ranks in professional sports-these relationship trends ultimately reflects society.

Historically African-Americans have been kept out of money-making, Fortune 500 owning opportunities because of racism. When I see reports suggesting Izzo and Gilbert are “Michigan State men” what that really means is “we have to take care of our own.”

Its subliminal terminology that let’s you know that racism still exists. What it suggests is whites at the top have to look out for one another and keep the pipeline open for their own.

Allow me to be objective and fair here.

The fact Scott is being considered for the Cavaliers job is great. He has a demonstrated a track record in the league. But I feel Scott should be treated as a more serious candidate than he has.

Just because Izzo and Gilbert are “Michigan State men” doesn’t mean Izzo should be treated like a king and Scott like a second-rate coach. Facts indicate Scott is better qualified for the job therefore he should be courted as such.

All one has to do is look at the facts. Therefore, it can be logically concluded Scott is being treated unfairly because of the “good ol’ boy network” happening right before our eyes.

If Scott isn’t being duped because of the “good ol’ boy network” then tell me what it is as I’ll be glad to hear it.