The Oak Tree is just as perplexed as everyone else when it comes to the Nets choice in a new head coach.
Charles Oakley never bites his tongue when it comes to talking basketball. TMZ caught up with the recently announced Dancing With The Stars contestant, and he had some thoughts about the recent and very surprising hiring of Steve Nash by the Brooklyn Nets to be their new head coach. Just like the rest of the sports world, Oakley is confused about the Nets’ decision. He believes that there were plenty of other well qualified Black coaches who deserved the job over Nash, like Mark Jackson, Pete Myers, and Jason Kidd. The retired professional baller believes the hiring is basically a friendly favor.
“People hire their friends, people that they believe in. Somebody must believe in Steve Nash, a great player.”
In a professional sports league that is predominately Black, with roughly 82% of its players being people color according to ESPN, Nash’s hiring is quite a headscratcher and a disappointment. Especially after Black coaches like Alvin Gentry and Nate McMillian both losing their jobs recently.
Oakley isn’t the only prominent sports figure calling foul about Nash being hired by the Nets. ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith wasn’t feeling the decision either, calling the hiring “white privilege.”
“This is one of the toughest positions I’ve ever had to take. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s no way around this. This is white privilege. This does not happen for a Black man.”
Steve Nash does have someone on his side, and it’s none other than Hall-of-Famer, Charles Barkley. During a recent airing of Inside The NBA, Barkley called out Smith directly and anyone else using the “white privilege” argument.
“I was very disappointed in some of the guys on television today talking about white privilege. Very disappointed. They’re like, ‘Well, this doesn’t happen to Black guys.’ And I’m like, ‘It happened to Doc Rivers. It happened to Jason Kidd. It happened to Derek Fisher.”
“When you have a responsibility, especially when you have to talk about something as serious as race, you can’t be full of crap. You’ve got to be honest and fair.”
It’s clear Nash’s is going to have to show and prove instantly when he officially begins his tenure. But he will have some big help getting his coaching career started thanks to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving leading the Nets next season.
Photo: Frank Ockenfels / Getty