Oscar Robertson urged white athletes to increase their activism on social issues while accepting the Lifetime Achievement prize at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica on Monday night.

Oscar Robertson Says White Athletes Should Increase Activism

The 79-year-old NBA legend praised black athletes like LeBron James for promoting change and racial equality, but said white sports stars must also step up their game in this respect.

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“I think that as people evolve, and things are changing so much in the world with social media and whatnot, these people are young people who have families,” Robertson said. “They’ve seen some injustice in the streets or wherever it might be, it might be almost anywhere, and they’re stepping up. But the only thing that really bothers me is, where are the white athletes when this is happening?”


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Robertson continued: “This is not a black athlete problem. You see injustice in the world. It’s all around you. Just because LeBron steps out, I’m glad he does. I hope some other players — because this is what they believe — I mean, what do you want players to do? Shut up and dribble? I think it’s time for them to say what they want to say about life and about politics and things about the street and whatnot. And about education.

“There are a lot of players donating money back into different colleges. But it seems that what we have today is a system where you don’t want players to say anything at all.”

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James has heavily criticized President Donald Trump multiple times for exacerbating racial tensions in the United States. Earlier this year, Fox News host Laura Ingraham slammed the Cleveland Cavaliers star, calling him ignorant and uneducated before adding: “Shut up and dribble.”

According to ESPN, Robertson was raised in a segregated housing project in Indianapolis and grew up during a time when economic and racial disparities in the country were high. A 12-time All-Star and the 1964 league MVP, Robertson played for the Cincinnati Royals (1960-1970) and the Milwaukee Bucks (1970-1974).

Robertson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1980.


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