As the vacant jobs in the NBA coaching ranks are slowly filled, one thing is clear:
Negro coaches are being quickly and quietly escorted to the door. And their jobs are being filled by retreads and status quo ghosts.
Is it the NBA's desire to send a message to Negro coaches that they belong on the second or third seat on the bench? That, rather than give them the chance to mature and develop a program, the NBA is better suited by playing 'musical chairs' with the same old cotton swabs, over and over?
Is firing the Negro coach with the NBA's best winning percentage over the past 3 seasons and claiming the reason for the termination was playoff losses; and then hiring a man with a history of playoff failure not the very definition of bleachy hypocrisy?
Let's look more closely.
Sam Vincent was brought in to Charlotte at the beginning of the season. He was forced out after the season. One year. One year is all he was given to turn around a floundering and lost franchise. Who did Charlotte bring in? The man responsible for burning down Madison Square Garden (although the press has tried to blame someone else). Larry Brown. The King of The Road is the hired gun brought in to turn Charlotte around. Yes, the man has won a title. But he has also left carnage and destruction at virtually every stop, after he finds a bigger paycheck to chase. His experience and coaching 'the right way' will probably lead to more wins in the immediate future. But, is it worth it for the Bobcats to take one step forward, knowing full well that at the end of Brown's tenure they will end up being two steps back?
After Scott Skiles was let go in Chicago (and interim Boylan was sent to the soup kitchen), Chicago management said they were interested in hiring a 'tough, former player'. Naturally, folks thought that meant Avery Johnson (the possessor of the NBA's highest winning percentage over the past few years) or perhaps Mark Jackson. Well, apparently, 'tough, former player' is code for 'washed up, retread vanilla cupcake'. ESPN is reporting that Doug Collins will get the nod in Chi-town.
Isiah Thomas, victim of Larry Brown's most recent 'rape and pillage' expedition, was run off the bench in NYC. Certainly, arguments for Thomas' release abound. And we do not pretend to support the notion that Thomas had the team on the right track. However, rather than bring in someone with a deep connection and understanding of the NBA's flagship franchise...the Knicks brought in a coach who runs a system which the Knicks don't have the personnel to man. In the process, Knicks management managed to offend a Knickerbocker all-time great.
"There's nobody who is an assistant coach who doesn't want to be a head coach," said Ewing, who has been an assistant for five seasons and is credited with lifting center Dwight Howard to the next level. "Unless you've already been a head coach and you're older and you're just putting in hours until you retire. I'm young. I'd definitely want to be a head coach one day.
And I'm disappointed I didn't get a call, yeah.
In one fell swoop, through these firings, the NBA was able to reduce the ranks of Negro head coaches by a staggering 25%.
In contrast, the ranks of white coaches have increased by over 10%.
These are chilling numbers that, coupled with the retread hirings of Brown, Carlisle, Skiles, D'Antonio and possibly Collins, send a clear message to Negro assistant coaches everywhere:
We prefer failed white men to be the face of NBA franchises, rather than give you an equal chance to succeed.
Back to the third seat!