You know what time it is. What the clunky acronym stands for. What we do when there's no real NBA news.
By now, I'm sure everyone's heard that Billy Hunter is playing the race card. In his mind, the league's claim of (presumably white) "agents intervening" implies that Hunter and the predominantly black Players' Association can't do it on their own.
Notwithstanding the validity of this argument (there are African-American agents, some of them quite powerful),
Most importantly, though, it's a sport marketed and consumed as African-American. Whether you love or hate the NBA, chances are these feelings are also bound up with your opinion on black culture, the hip-hop generation, inner city economics and demographics, and a host of other broader concerns that, in baseball or football, are always secondary to THE GAME. If Hunter, O'Neal, and Lebatard can so effectively raise the specter of racism, it's because race always looms large over the NBA. You can probably attribute some of the (generational) urgency to a similar movement in the record biz, but here we're talking about a "takeover" of the league/industry itself, not just making dramatic statements within someone else's power structure.
The only way the race card will stop being persistantly relevant is when the NBA is no longer an institution you could play it against.
UPDATE: Woody Paige just claimed that Hunter is out of line because the NBA is so good and accomodating about race, socio-economic backgrounds, etc. I agree, but I think this is exactly why they have to take the issue of race seriously all the time. He calls this "colorblindness;" I'd say it's opening the door for minorities to get what's rightfully theirs. I don't think it's a stretch to ask that, once an institution admits the importance of diversity, it follows through once it becomes clear that diversity has become its very identity.