Craig Hodges, the famously outspoken former sharpshooter, wanted Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson to send a message by boycotting Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals.
The League’s two biggest stars at the time turned Hodges down.
— Donald McRae (@donaldgmcrae) April 20, 2017
The 56-year-old continues to fight for social justice, and thinks stars in his day were “caught up in individual branding rather than a unified movement.”
Per The Guardian:
Hodges always wanted to voice his opposition to injustice. In June 1991, before the first game of the NBA finals between the Bulls and the LA Lakers, Hodges tried to convince Jordan and Magic Johnson that both teams should stage a boycott. Rodney King, an African American, had been beaten brutally by four white policemen in Los Angeles three months earlier – while 32% of the black population in Illinois lived below the poverty line.
As he writes in his new book Longshot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter, Hodges told the sport’s two leading players that the Bulls and Lakers should sit out the opening game, so “we would stand in solidarity with the black community while calling out racism and economic inequality in the NBA, where there were no black owners and almost no black coaches despite the fact that 75% of the players in the league were African American”.
Jordan told Hodges he was “crazy” while Johnson said: “That’s too extreme, man.”
“What’s happening to our people in this country is extreme,” Hodges replied.