Friday, October 19, 2018

Kobe Bryant Won’t Listen To Jim Brown Because Some Athletes Are Voluntarily Brain Dead.

December 17, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( There’s been a really ridiculous debate going on between the 30 and 40 somethings and older athletes/entertainers from the civil rights generation.  First, there was the weird spat between Jay-Z and Harry Belafonte, where Harry basically said that Jay-Z owes something to the black community, but Jay wants to believe that he doesn’t owe anything to anyone but himself.  Now, there is the little thing between Jim Brown and Kobe Bryant.

Jim thinks that Kobe could do more when it comes to speaking up and out for the black community, while Kobe has been convinced to do his talking with a basketball in his hand. I’m not sure how original it is for black men to think that they are doing something special by defining themselves as brainless bucks who dribble for white people to make a living, but that’s where we are.  Much of this, unfortunately, is due to the way ineffectivekobe-bryant-jim-brown public school systems and universities work on killing all independent brain cells of athletic black men before they ever get a chance to have any real power (you ever seen how the basketball star gets pushed from one grade to the next and has their grades changed in college?  I’m a college professor, so I’ve seen this up close).

Then, by the time these men become truly powerful and have the ability to change the world, they are psychologically neutered like bad dogs at the kennel….afraid of their own shadow and rendered almost entirely ineffective in the pursuit of black equality.   Like thirty-dollar prostitutes who’ve been hooked on crack cocaine, our most powerful black men are trained to stand on the corner and dance for money without daring to take a second to think and act for themselves.  Money is the drug that keeps them high and the one that is used to keep them under control.

Like a father doing an intervention on his dope-addicted son, Jim Brown spoke directly to the Kobe Bryants of the world, letting them know that there are a plethora of options for professional athletes to do something more meaningful than dunk a basketball.  He points to the men of his generation, who held Black Athlete summits, held up their fists at the Olympics and spoke directly about the way they could use their athletic prowess to help the people they care about the most.  Jim delivers tough love because he is not a soft and quiet guy and it might hurt Kobe’s feelings.  But Kobe might want to pay attention, since Jim knows what he’s talking about.

Here are a few reasons why Kobe Bryant might want to listen to Jim Brown.

1)      Because Jim was just as good of an athlete as Kobe is (maybe better):  Jim Brown was a man among men. He was the greatest athlete in the history of Syracuse University (where I teach), dominating three different sports to the point that rules were changed in order to find a way to stop him. In the NFL, he set a rushing record that wasn’t broken for decades and did it with a shorter career than most.  Jim Brown, in my opinion, makes a serious case for being the greatest athlete of all-time.  When you consider what he achieved off the field, the comparison between he and Kobe Bryant is virtually non-existent.

2)      Because racism is real and black people are catching hell:  Black people are going to prison so much that fathers in the household have practically disappeared and our children are growing up traumatized.  Black people have an unemployment rate that would be a national crisis if we were white.  Black children are not learning how to read in horrible inner city schools.  Black teens are getting their heads blown off in the street because no one cares enough to try and stop the violence.  If a respected athlete like Kobe Bryant were to even SPEAK on these matters, it would make a HUGE difference and make my job a lot easier (I noticed how the White House listened when we got Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Brad Pitt and other celebs to join us in our fight against the prison industrial complex).  But the degree to which so many of our athletes are indifferent to black suffering is nothing short of unconscionable.  Many of them come from communities where the struggles are greatest, so it amazes me that, similar to chickens fattened and plucked on the farm, they’ve become psychologically immune to all that is occurring around them.

3)      Because your success doesn’t just belong to you:  The idea that athletes can just get rich and famous without owing anything to the black community is like a man never thanking his mother for giving him life.  The black community has elevated and supported Kobe, so it makes no sense for him not to give back and fight.  The same hoods that love him need him the most, so why in the world would he or any other athlete sit silently and quietly while there is so much suffering that they can help to alleviate?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

4)      Because Jim can educate him:  By challenging Kobe Bryant, Jim is teaching him that he doesn’t have to be a puppet for money. He is teaching him that there is more to being a black man than showing a white man how high you can jump.  He is teaching him that other people don’t have to control his decisions, he can make strong decisions on his own.  He is also helping him to realize that he wasn’t the first great black athlete to have ever lived, there have been better ones in the past.

5)      Because Jim has earned his stripes:  Jim Brown has put it on the line when it counted.  He made a lot of money, but didn’t live for money.  He and other athletes of his era took stands that made it possible for us to live with the freedoms that we have today.  To use west coast vernacular, Jim Brown is Kobe’s “OG” and he needs to shut the hell up and show Jim the respect he deserves.  You don’t piss all over the words of your grandfather, which is what Bryant is doing by trying to brush Jim Brown off.

6)    Without Jim, there would be no Kobe:  If Jim Brown were as selfish as Kobe Bryant, there would be no Kobe Bryant.  Brown could have “kicked it” with money, fame and women up to his elbows, like a lot of athletes today.  Instead, he stood up to white people in ways that would make Kobe’s testicles shrivel up and fall off.  Any athlete who truly wants to make a difference in the world needs to study the life of the amazing Jim Brown to get a peek into what true athletic manhood is really all about.

Kobe Bryant, give that man the respect he deserves.  Jim is trying to help you grow from being just another high-jumping negro to becoming a real man who has an impact on the world.  I hope Kobe Bryant chooses to listen but he probably won’t.  As a Finance professor, I’ve always known how money can clog up our ear drums and turn off our brains.  It’s sad that so many athletes choose to be brain dead, when the fact is that, by coming together, they could truly change the world.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



5 Responses to “Kobe Bryant Won’t Listen To Jim Brown Because Some Athletes Are Voluntarily Brain Dead.”
  1. gc1479 says:

    I agree with the comments so far about having our own camps and setting the guidelines instead of people outside our communities who my not care as much.

    I also agree that Jim Brown was from a different era with a lot of consciousness around him. Thus, it may have been a little easier for him than if he was held as high as Black athletes are today and with their contracts, endorsements, and eye of the social media. Though it would be tough for anyone to take a stand in any era that can help change the world.

    I remember seeing how Chinese fans responded to Kobe at the 2008 Olympics. I was thinking, man, he may or may not know how much power he really has. Now his influence may be less at this stage of his career. Though the Lebrons, MJs, and Kobes, probably could have set-up their own basketball leagues at the height of their powers.

  2. lewis orr says:

    With all respect to both Jim Brown and Kobe Bryant, they are both outstanding athletes of different eras. Jim Brown was of the era of civil rights,(the Ali era). This was long before the big contracts of today were the athletes with big contracts are warned not to use their wealth to support any Black programs that might help the Black community, or risk alienation and losing their contract. Jim Brown was and is socially conscience like Ali, who gave up his belt and millions not to be used to entice other Black men to fight another man that never did any harm to Black people and posed no threat.

    Now today people are nowhere as socially conscience, although some here claim to be. Young people today are living under harsh economic burdens and the chance to make millions would over rule most of their social responsibilities. I’m not blaming anyone, everyone has their own priorities.

    Times have changed and Jim Brown is old and too old to change and he can’t see the world as Kobe does and this has nothing to do with Kobe being raised outside the country. Kobe is just a reflection of his time as most of his peers. What Jim said about Kobe can be said about any athlete of today.

  3. Reaman2 says:

    Good article and totally true, I enjoy watching sports but I have learned not to expect anything positive from these rich 21st century tap dancing morons.

  4. Dr. Boyce is right when he talks about how our best and brightest are taken away at a young age to be molded by people who’s only interest is to get as much as they can out of you, before you’re discarded. Kobe and the many other athletes and entertainers are not the problem. They’re just symptoms of the bigger problem and that is lack of leadership in the family and the community.

    It is the parents who allow their children to be used and programmed to think only about themselves without knowing anything about their history and how, if it wasn’t for people like Jim Brown and the many other trail blazers who paved the way so these people could have the opportunity to showcase their abilities, they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in today. It is also the lack of true leadership in the community in order to help the parents who may not always know what’s best for their child. But lets be real, this is all about money and who gets it.

    If you’re an athlete, there are camps that are setup for our youth as young as 7, 8, or 9 years old. So they already know who our best are and they start planning to do whatever they can, including paying off family, friends of the family, and so called leaders, in order to keep the youth in their camp, and this goes all the way to college. But we can counter this by creating our own camps and start programming our youth to respect their elders who made it easy for them to do what they do and remember to always give back to their community. The bottom line is we can’t expect our children to do the right thing, when we haven’t taught them what the right thing is.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  5. Papacool says:

    Kobe is just a micro segment of black athletes that allow success to overrule their ability to reason. After the rape incident in Colorado, the man just does not get it. Trying to talk like Jordan does not make one him. There is alot of responsibility that goes with the spotlight and Kobe has been given his fair share. But to do something special for others without being told to do so is so hard when the individuals involved in changing things are quite selfish.

    To take a portion of the money and make a low income development to help the needy would be a good start. But it would take balls to make a move such as the summit of ’67 that Jim Brown organized. Although athletes make alot of money, one must remember that they are given a set amount of time to enjoy their talents before they have to face life in the real world. I recently saw the two part interview of Jim Brown on youtube and know that his views are not what today’s jocks want to hear. To sacrifice yourself for the greater good is a hard thing to do. Brown has the courage to face issues and discuss them honestly whether you agree with him or not. I applaud this effort as he was not going to allow himself to be accepted for anything less than the man he is.

    No smiling, shuffling of the feet, and being afraid to go toe to toe with the adversary took Brown to a high level of respectibility among his peers. Kobe should just listen and take whatever positives he gets out of the talk and apply them to his life. This would demonstrate the power of change and the willingness to accept constructive criticism. Leadership of those that paved the way should always be a required path for all of us to follow. Peace out, Papacool.

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