An Analysis Of William C. Rhoden 's ' Eighty Million Dollar Slaves ' Essay

An Analysis Of William C. Rhoden 's ' Eighty Million Dollar Slaves ' Essay

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Go out to an urban neighborhood and find a game of pickup basketball. Listen if you can hear any of the kids yell “Iso!” What does it mean? It literally means isolation, but on the court it means “Give me the ball and let me do it myself.” In Forty Million Dollar Slaves, author William C. Rhoden argues white journalists perpetuated the stereotype that black athletes are selfish with a “one-on-one” mentality. However, Rhoden fails to acknowledge that this “one-on-one” mindset on and off the field is a very real dynamic, with legitimate cause.
Rhoden claims that the “one-on-one” way of being is not reflective of the black legacy, because that, according to him, has always been about teamwork. This does hold truth. But a one-on-one mentality takes place in multiple contexts - on the court and off the court. On the court it’s all about taking on the other team by yourself. It’s the idea that some athletes are just too good to pass or use the team around him. Here is where Rhoden is wrong. He completely denigrates the idea that black athletes play with a one-on-one style because he feels like it paints black athletes in a bad light. I disagree. Let’s look at LeBron James. In the NBA Finals, why would LeBron James pass the ball? He is arguably the best player in the world and if he is playing with inferior players, what is the reason to not go one-on-one? If it gives his team the best chance to win than there is no reason to criticize a great player for getting the ball more than anyone else. By blindly trying to defend the black reputation, Rhoden fails to realize the actual legitimacy of having a “one-on-one” mentality on the court.
Off the court, “one-on-one” has very different connotations. There, it can translate to the young b...


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...petuated the image, but because they have good reasons to do so.
Kobe Bryant will refuse to pass the ball. And more likely than not the next Jordan, and there will be one (just maybe not in basketball), will probably not want to put their entire career and reputation at risk even if it can benefit their entire race. People are motivated out of self-interest, and want to win. Rhoden really wants to believe that all black athletes are selfless and want the best for their community and race. But to expect this is really ludicrous. Kobe truly believes that the ends justifies the means. If he shoots the ball 3 for 21 on any given night but his third make happens to be a game winner, Kobe is a happy man. And if that means that he is hard to play with and teammates do not get along with him, then so be it. In Kobe 's words, “Friends come and go but banners hang forever.”

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