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NBA : “I’m not an animal, I’m a human”: The historic first boycott of the NBA in 1959

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By Achilles Mavrodontis / info@eurohoops.net

In the summer, the Bucks made a brave decision, with John and his company boycotting the game with the Bucks, protesting against what is happening and the violation of the rights of African Americans. This move wanted guts and was greeted warmly by the whole NBA and not only, but the way for that had been opened long before. Specifically in 1959 by Elgin Baylor!

The NBA legend was one of the top players of the 1960s, but apart from being a great athlete, he was also a man who came forward and protested FIRST about his rights.

The diary was written in January 1959 and the incident we are going to describe took place in West Virginia in the United States.

The Minneapolis Lakers traveled there to play against the Cincinnati Royals, but when they arrived in the city, the black players of the team were not welcome! The mission changed hotel altogether, but even there the problem was not solved, as at lunch time, they were not allowed to eat with their teammates, with Elgin Baylor going to a nearby store to get the ingredients to make sandwiches .

When it came time for the match, Baylor refused to leave the hotel, but then agreed to follow the team, but never wore the appearance of his team to play!

In fact, according to testimonies of the time, Hot Rod Handley, his white teammate, quarreled with him in order to convince him to play. But Baylor’s response was disarming.

“Rod, I am a human being. I am not an animal that you put in the cage and take out during the show “, were his words, with his teammate answering “Do not play. You’re right. I was wrong “.

As we said, Baylor, in addition to his great off-pitch role, was also a star in it, playing 14 years for the Lakers, with averages that … scary, as he averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in his career. of. In fact, the 61 points he scored in the fifth NBA final against the Celtics are still a record today, as no one else managed to score so many in a game for the series of finals!

After his retirement (1971-72) he coached the New Orleans Jazz, but also GM with the Clippers for 22 years, with him leaving in 2008. Of course Baylor lives and reigns, having now turned 86 years old ( 16/9/1934).

So he was definitely a special player, who left his mark in the NBA, but also showed the… way to the next generations, with the results we can see even today…

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