Original Air Date: Nov 3, 2018
Prompted by Laura Ingraham’s public criticism of LeBron James and other NBA players' outspokenness on the current political climate, the first episode is an exploration of the league’s social and cultural influence across time. Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson risked their careers and paved the way for generations of future players. Julius “Dr. J” Erving’s style of play laid the groundwork for Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (and David Stern) to catapult the NBA into an era of higher visibility and prosperity.STREAM THIS EPISODE
Original Air Date: Nov 10, 2018
1984 brought the arrival of the one and only Michael Jordan. MJ breaks barriers when his out-of-context quote, “Republicans buy sneakers too” becomes a signature declaration for a generation of players. In the wake of the Rodney King riots in L.A., two black players, Craig Hodges and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, make their voices heard and pay the price. Allen Iverson rises and becomes a trendsetter unlike anyone before him, even though his defiant style on the court gets him only so far in the NBA.STREAM THIS EPISODE
Original Air Date: Nov 17, 2018
The very public brawl known as “Malice in the Palace” is the catalyst for new NBA rules. But it is also an opportunity for players to own their brands and create both social and financial equity for themselves. The NBA begins its transition to a “players’ league,” with players reaching unprecedented levels of economic and cultural influence. The murders of Trayvon Martin and Erik Garner create a chance for NBA players to stand up and be heard. In the present turbulent political era, players are now unwilling to just “shut up and dribble."STREAM THIS EPISODE
Short feature revealing insights from Craig Hodges’ failed protest following the 1991 Rodney King beating and contrasting it with this year’s NBA boycott in the bubble led by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Short feature looking into the unrecognized impact of basketball Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood, who won a battle in the Supreme Court vs. the NBA that allowed players to be drafted and play in the league without completing 4-years of college.
Short feature detailing Oscar Robertson’s everlasting impact on the league, including his landmark demand for free agency.
In the 1980s, black athletes in the NBA had fame, they had money, they had opportunities, they had sponsorships. But Arsenio Hall made it his job to give them something they didn’t have: a voice.
Short feature looking into the balance of power in the NBA, and how it has shifted from team owners to players over the years.
Short feature stepping outside the pro sports bubble to look at the danger of being black in America, a reality that impacts NBA stars as much as anyone. Athletes cultivate change, and that change brings pushback.
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