Black History Month: African-American athletes in Boston
Fri, 1 Feb 2013|
Michael Holley alongside, Peter Roby, Bob Ryan, and Cedric Maxwell discuss African-American athletes in Boston
Today's topic is Boston in playing -- Boston what's it like for African American athletes African American coaches sports writers. Today's panel got Peter Roby athletic director at Northeastern University got Bob Ryan longtime columnist for the Boston Globe and Cedric Maxwell Celtics. The Max you're the one guy here who is played of Boston who has been cheered by often booed in Boston as well maybe yes maybe booed bonds. What was it like here when you started. In the seventies and what was it like. In the -- I'm not champions I think the perception changed from from the time I got here. In the sense that busing and all these other things one on at the time. I played -- it much -- at that time who allowed the -- is did not do in the bio Sidney wicks Curtis -- they did that in the bout wit. And knobs and you get Larry Bird in the team changes the dynamics change for the team. But as a black athlete has to in this town you always kind of felt like you -- in the accountable bubble. Remembered the population of Boston I think you said this is the smallest percentage of black people all the major city in America right now so. Black players tried to do in the five whip people outside of basketball. In that -- arena just wasn't there. I like playing here I like thumbing my nose at people. In this sense because of you know of my blackness but it was always a thing that you did kind of feel like you were somewhat in the bubble. Bob I know Cedric Maxwell UST -- tease you. At the globe every job as the players Wear and they're -- talented team wins the white -- the Boston Globe Everett had a player. And black if Cedric Maxwell drove it good. And don't open the Pacific island. -- what is alleged to have been here for a long time 49 so what it would have you observed. I came there. The heyday of the of the the original Celtics -- would have a topic to Bill Russell and his contentious relationship with the but the fans that. That he did that he felt would never give him time -- day if -- weren't great but Russell as as an end of a black man apart from from the the arena and who had trouble you know with this house and -- and all that stuff. And -- it was a terrible Tampa blacks in general and even worse town for black athlete there is no question about it that decade earned its reputation. No question and then baseball Reggie Smith -- needed here that that that there with the team and its reputation by being the last team to integrate. I'm going to that was up a southern owner that clearly had no use for blacks and and and and that earned their reputation it they didn't dig out of the whole thing until then until this -- won in 2004 I am convinced that they didn't win until just because. And that was it but I I have to think it's gotten better Max and illusion. When Max came here was -- immediate aftermath of the height of Boston. And that town was was absolutely law -- and immediately it was it was that interesting very interesting time at with this is a very. This guy was different you know we love them and media because he was he was. Flip and and and funny and and and it was -- it was different he he could -- what it. But some guys couldn't hole. Well what is -- Peter. -- little busing was the national image of Boston as well. You know lots of photographs famous photographs of thought things that were going on around busting at the time -- dominated. The national landscape for a long time and -- it was a really juicy story. And then when you lay on top of that the fact that the Boston franchises were slow to integrate. And in some cases were. Negative and a hostile. With respect to their approach. And then most of the franchises in Boston had white superstars. And that's what people. Identified with Ted Williams Larry Bird Bob Cousy and all those that came before Tommy hinds and so you know it was. A perfect storm. And the irony is. The irony is. That we were the Celtics franchise. Was the first. To dissect it integrate their teams the way they did black coach all black starting five had. Coach and an owner who was too. Totally colorblind to me read our back which was colorblind I mean he just -- put the best guys on the floor and he didn't care. And he had great respect for Russell that's why they're there relationship worked. But people at that point in time we're not ready for a proud Smart black men who was not afraid. And so it was a combination of a lot of things you know and -- Obviously wasn't here to grow up here and act and I think I start to get it when I was working for the globe and and Bob you mentioned. Awhile ago that he's had had dreadlocks -- had dreadlocks. And I had my picture. In the globe. And I think when it could at the top guys first started right into the picture in there so I was writing -- and get much negative feedback my picture wasn't there. And my -- up the paper. And yeah. Okay but I really got how how far. Boston had come win -- on separate occasions. One was in 1999. All star game was here and Earl Wilson I introduced myself to Earl Wilson. As a columnist for the Boston Globe he became very emotional. Does that hit you you work for the Boston Globe you're from Boston though you're my hero that's what you see him at times so it's an officer he's -- -- prodigy. -- Bill Russell Xavier that you had the Bill Russell tribute attribute and he was just amazed. That there was somebody writing columns a black a black man writing columns of the Boston -- so yeah we've. We've come quite a way.