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Theresa Runstedtler on 'Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation that Saved the Soul of the NBA'

Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air

The Ringer

Society & Culture

4.83.5K Ratings

🗓️ 5 March 2023

⏱️ 61 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Larry is joined by professor and writer Theresa Runstedtler to discuss her new book 'Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation that Saved the Soul of the NBA'. They begin their conversation by discussing how Dr. Runstedtler's connection to the NBA via the Toronto Raptors dance team and the corporatization she witnessed within that organization during her stint inspired her to research the primary aspects of her book. Next, they examine the history of segregation in professional basketball, how racial context was tied to the emerging style of play within the game, and pioneers like Connie Hawkins who insisted on wage equality for Black players in the league (8:19). They then dive into Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's influence on the ABA-NBA merger and the influence of racially biased media coverage on the public’s perception of Black players and the sport’s overall revenue in the '70s (25:15). After the break, they take a look at the ascension of Simon Gourdine, the first Black NBA executive, and talk about the obstacles that hinder Black coaches and executives throughout all of the major American sports leagues (38:27). Larry and Theresa end the pod by discussing how the ‘74 Finals, the emergence of Larry Bird, and the NBA's inclusion of the slam dunk contest spearheaded the marketability of the league into the modern era (42:42). Host: Larry Wilmore Guest: Theresa Runstedtler Associate Producer: Chris Sutton Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

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