• Brian L. Barefield

Black Men Matter

The 2019 NBA Draft had little intrigue when it came to the top five draft picks. Everyone knew the overall consensus number one pick would be Zion Williamson out of Duke. That was decided when the Pelicans won the NBA draft lottery earlier in the month.

One thing that was surprising to see was the abundance of black father's in attendance at the draft. Now before you start going in on me on my twitter page (@bigsragesportz) about how I am attacking African American males and feeding into the sterotypes about absentee black dads. Hear me out first. "Woke" crowd. I promise you will not have to protest me when I am done.

According to there are 57.6% of black children living without their fathers. Yes it can be considered an epidemic and in many low income neighborhoods it is. I too was one who was raised by a strong black mother (Rest In Heaven Momma) who raised three boys and never missed one event we had. Which was the look of so many NBA Drafts in the past.

When a young man would have his name announced by the Commissioner of the NBA, you would see a table filled with people, but more importantly it would be the mom or grandmother who was getting the hugs, love and praise by the future millionaires. In their press conferences they would bring up how mom or grandmother had to struggle to make ends meet. How him and his siblings were sharing space in a one-bedroom apartment in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. A majority of those young men shared one common denominator.

No father was in the home or even present in their lives.

RJ Barrett and his dad share a moment with Knicks biggest fan Spike Lee

That is what makes this last draft so aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. To see black men who has been present in these young mens lives since day one was beautiful. Listening to these future stars of the NBA talk about what role their fathers played in their lives by just being there for them was simply amazing.

Let's use the number two pick in this years draft, Ja Morant out of Murray State. He has said on numerous occasions he would not be the player he is today if it wasn't for the support of his parents, but in particular his father.

Tee Morant was a high school teammate of former NBA great Ray Allen. He had aspirations and goals to make it to the league one day as he played college ball at Claflin University and even spent some time overseas before coming back home and taking care of his pregnant wife.

Tee Morant stands proudly next to his son after Ja was selected number 2 in the 2019 NBA Draft

“The negative things I had in me, I wanted to keep out of him, as far as the going out and all that. I wanted him to focus on his dream. I didn’t put 100 percent in mine," Tee Morant told Murray State News reporter Blake Sandlin in a 2018 interview.

Tee was at his usual spot after it was announced that his son would be taking his talents to play for the Memphis Grizzles who earlier in the week, traded veteran guard Mike Conley Jr. to give Morant the keys to the franchise. The elder Morant was dressed to the "T" (no pun intended) as he listened to his son call him his biggest "Hater" and they both shared in a laugh together.

That was just one example of the love and affection shared on this night that was meant to be filled with joy and tears of happiness. For one night all the negative comments about absentee fathers in the African American community had to cease. This night provided hope and left a message of how much our kids need their father.

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