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Byron Scott says NBA players need to advocate for Black coaches

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Byron Scott, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers believes professional basketball players should be advocating for more Black coaches in the league.

In the 1980s, Scott was a three-time NBA champion when he played for the Lakers. Scott went on to coach the team from 2014-2016.

His coaching experience includes working as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings, then onto coaching the New Jersey Nets, the New Orleans Hornets, and finally the Cleveland Cavaliers before landing the west coast franchise.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers
Head coach Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers addresses the media after the Lakers defeat the Utah Jazz 101-96 at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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In an interview with TMZ Sports, Scott shared how he got the position with Kobe Bryant’s help. According to Scott, players should push for Black coaches, an area in which he believes the NBA still struggles.

“Our players don’t do a good enough job of advocating for Black coaches. That’s just something we have to change, as well. It’s just one of those things that’s going to take time. We all know that, but I think it’s something we have to pay attention to,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say the onus is directly on them. I don’t wanna put that type of pressure on the players. I do want them to stand up for Black coaches though. I think they should be a little bit more involved in the process.”

His statements came shortly after the Brooklyn Nets announced former player and eight-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash as their new coach, although he has no prior NBA coaching experience.

“My first thought was why didn’t Mark Jackson or some other African American guys who have coached in this league at least get an opportunity to coach with the Brooklyn Nets?” the NBA champion told TMZ.

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Scott believes, from his own experience, that Black coaches are not given the same opportunities.

“When I’m talking about ‘we’, I’m talking about Black coaches. We don’t get jobs that are that set and that good — when you got two All-Stars like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant,” he said to TMZ.

“We get the kind of jobs where you have to make something out of nothing and when you don’t or you’re not able to do it, they’ll say, ‘Well, we gave him the opportunity.”

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has similar feelings, calling the new-hire “white privilege.”

“This does not happen for a Black man. No experience on any level as a coach and you get the Brooklyn Nets job?”

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