“Die young as a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” — Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight”
Twitter is on fire now with speculation that former Boston Celtics Hall of Fame player and NBA coach Kevin McHale was spotted a Trump rally in Duluth, Minnesota. While there has been no official confirmation as to whether or not the gangly individual spotted near a pink “Women for Trump” sign was, in fact, McHale, it definitely looks like him.
The possibility of the individual being a doppelganger from an alternative Earth aside, that damn sure is Kevin McHale in the photo. Initially, a great wave of sadness fell upon me like morning dew on the grass. Then it was followed by a wave of disappointment in myself for being so naive as to believe that someone so intimately associated with the mostly-black National Basketball Association couldn’t possibly support a racist like Donald J. Trump.
Celtics great Kevin McHale enjoys old feeling of being in an arena full of screaming bigots: https://t.co/TJ21t0OYgG
I know the facts, but my emotions dissuaded me from properly accessing the situation in the minutes following this revelation. The facts say that a full two-thirds of all voting age white men in America supported Donald Trump in the run-up to the last presidential election. The facts also state that Donald Trump still has a very high approval rating among white men as well.
So, being a man who prides himself on dealing with actual facts, this should come as no surprise to me. However, it did. Although Larry Bird isn’t very outspoken politically, one can glean from his refusal to meet Ronald Reagan at the White House following a Celtics championship in 1984, joining Cedric Maxwell and Robert Parish, that he leaned a little to the left relative to your average white dude.
Back in 1993, the last year McHale played an NBA season, black players made up nearly 80 percent of the league. So, in an apparently flawed equation, I thought he had some level of respect or concern for minorities in general, and white folks in particular. Indeed, it’s similar to how some of us invite white folks to the proverbial cookout based on such superficial attributes as being a “cool guy”, having a black girlfriend or being in the possession of an extensive hip-hop collection.
Kevin McHale is extremely stupid for attending a public Trump event. That, as much as his politics, is why he should never work in the NBA again
At the end of the day, none of that matters. Actions, and inactions, do. If this is indeed McHale, then his willingness to attend a presidential rally that would certainly be televised, and that there was a very high possibility that he would be seen, means he didn’t care what his association with an authoritarian would mean for his brand.
Despite having been around black people for most of his adult life, McHale’s level of white privilege is such that he knows nothing will come of his support for him, and that all of the things we lambaste Trump for doing to marginalized individuals will never happen to him. He doesn’t have to say he supports immigrant detentions, Muslim bans and making misogynist statements, being in attendance tell us all we need to know.
McHale, 60, had a 13-year playing career with the Celtics from 1980 to 1993 as a power forward, winning three NBA championships and being picked for seven All-Star games along the way. He later coached the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets after his playing career endedand he was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.