“Great City. It’s Not America, And You Feel It … Especially As An African-American” | Chris Broussard Under Pressure After Toronto Diss

(Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Somehow a conversation about Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant’s trade request turned into a condemnation of an entire city, and now FS1 talking head Chris Broussard is defending himself.

In a segment about the Toronto Raptors as a possible landing spot for Durant, Broussard opined that the two-time Finals MVP wouldn’t want to live in that city because “it’s not America” and that matters for a Black player.

“I don’t think KD would want to go to Toronto,” said Broussard. “Great city. It’s not America, and you feel it when you’re there. I’m telling you, especially as an African-American. It’s a different situation than African-Americans are used to being in.”

Broussard started getting some heat on Twitter and clarified his comments about the Canadian city.

“I never said Blacks are ‘treated worse in Toronto’ than in America. Never!” Broussard tweeted. “That’s ridiculous. I said living there is different and ‘not the same as living in America for Blacks.’ Very diverse city. But just 8% Black. I love visiting Toronto. Visiting.”

Broussard is making a huge generalization in both his original comments and his clarification and he’s also subscribing to a form of American exceptionalism.

On its face, it is true that living in Canada is different than living in America. News flash, they are two different countries. But why is the assumption that “not the same” equates to bad or negative? Being a Black American and living in any country, including America, has positives and negatives. 

Does Broussard have first-hand experience living in Canada?

In the original clip Broussard talks about the Raptors in the pre-Masai Ujiri (team president) era, “worrying” about keeping Black superstars, because of the city. He referenced the departures of Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and Kawhi Leonard as proof points.

Maybe that was the case. Maybe the pre-Ujiri era management didn’t work hard enough on retaining those stars. Maybe those stars left because they wanted to play with other players. There could be a number of reasons beyond the city that caused these players to want out.

Broussard then, in an attempt to credit Ujiri by saying he’s made the team “international,” inadvertently makes a generalization about Durant and by extension Black NBA superstars.

According to Broussard’s logic international players like Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, and Precious Achiuwa are better equipped to play in a non-American city because they’re not American. None of those players were born in Canada and all played college basketball in the States. So what is it about them, their upbringing, path, etc. that makes it any easier than a Black American player?

None of those players are on the level of Durant, an NBA superstar. What makes a non-American city different for him? Durant is beyond rich and has been all over the world multiple times. Whatever creature comforts he’s used to in the States can be sent to him in Toronto.

Is Broussard saying that Black American NBA superstars are too limited in their thinking and experience to handle living in a cosmopolitan city like Toronto?

Black people are about 8.9% of Toronto’s 2.79 million population. Black people are 13% of the U.S. population and considerably less in many cities home to NBA franchises.

Broussard’s reasons for Black NBA superstars not wanting to live in Toronto seems anecdotal, biased and rooted in stereotype. It would be helpful if he expanded on exactly what he means by “different” and how those differences make Toronto a less desirable place for Black NBA superstars.