Following closely on the heels of the announcement that a whites-only basketball league will launch this summer, Pistons forward-center Kwame Brown told the press that he has aspirations to be the first black player in the AABA.
The All-American Basketball Alliance, proposed by commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis, would consist of 12 teams featuring only white, American-born players. If Brown were to play in the league, it would be groundbreaking.
“Like Dr. Martin Luther King, I too have a dream,” Brown said after collecting 0 points and 1 rebound in 6 minutes of action last night against the Nets. “I know it’s a long time away, but someday I hope to tell my grandchildren that I was the first black man to play in the AABA. That hope is what keeps me coming to the gym every day.”
In 2001 Brown became first No. 1 overall draft pick to be selected straight out of high school, and Washington Wizards general manager Michael Jordan predicted greatness for him. Since then Brown played four years for the Wizards before being traded to the Lakers, the Grizzlies and most recently, the Pistons.
“I love the league for every opportunity they’ve given me,” Brown says, “but I think I’ve accomplished everything I can in the NBA. Breaking cultural barriers is where I can achieve the greatness that was destined for me.”
Brown’s announcement comes as a shock, since the AABA is not even a reality yet. And if it were to become a real, functioning basketball league, Brown would still have to get past the enormous obstacle that is the AABA’s cardinal rule: whites-only.
“I know it will be a struggle at first,” Brown says, “but I know that I can overcome any possible hurdles that may come up. My past shows that I’m determined and hard-working, and I believe that I’m destined to do this. If there’s anywhere I belong, it’s playing basketball in a league consisting only of white NBA rejects.”