Don’t Hate The Game

By Roland Rogers, BASN CEO
Updated: November 2, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — There’s a saying, “Be careful what you pray for, you might get it”. While reading Don’t Hate the Game, I was mesmerized by the creativity and enthralled by the vivacity of life and times of black athletes.

There was an inordinate amount of identification with the characters so vivid and real. I found myself drifting back to my formative years growing up in Buffalo, New York where I confronted many of the same issues and fears.

This help cement my opinion that sports is the universal currency of the 21st century. Don’t Hate the Game reflects that art does indeed imitate life. so much so, that I found myself engrossed while waiting to turn next page.

As each story unfolded, the context of words jumped out at me up close and personal. I was riveted by cross-over dribbles, touchdown runs and anger exhibited when confronted with life on life’s terms, cloaked images of growing up in the hood with the usual cast of players (i.e., drug dealers, hit men and childhood friends who took the easy way out).

A loving father/mentor painstakingly wanting to live vicariously through his children, and the labyrinths of hypocrisy, knowing too well there were only two ways black kids could follow their dreams and aspire: through sports and entertainment.

Don’t Hate the Game goes beyond the usual sports book. It illustrates real problems as young men and women grapple in their chosen crafts while being castigated for wanting to be a success or at the very least competitive in the games that could catapult them to fame and fortune.

Back in the 1920’s, black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson exemplified the point, and over time continued to incur the wrath of a society who perceived his disdain for “towing the line” sacrilege.

He was fearless in ring and in society. I remember the movie “Great White Hope” and the perils he endured because of his skin color and relationships with white females.

To this day, society has not been able to ignore the atrocities of black athletes placed under a microscope and scrutinized at every turn to insure their role models on the diamond, football fields and basketball courts, in spite of their superior athleticism and intelligence, will always be losers at the game of life.

I commend Michael Owens for assembling a brilliant collection of storytelling. Each contributor should be held in high esteem in their communities and lionized as true champions where few exists