A new professional basketball league, planned for launch in twelve cities, will only include white males who are born in the U.S. Don "Moose" Lewis announced the All-American Basketball Alliance just a day before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
"Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league," a press release distributed Sunday said.
Lewis denies that he is a racist but he wants to get away from "street ball" played by "people of color" that dominate the NBA. "Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said.
The Augusta Chronicle talked to Lewis Monday.
"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."
Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about the idea of a "whites only" league. Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver says the league isn't welcome in his city.
"As a sports enthusiast, I have always supported bringing more sporting activities to Augusta," Copenhaver said. "However, in this instance I could not support in good conscience bringing in a team that did not fit with the spirit of inclusiveness that I, along with many others, have worked so hard to foster in our city."
Think Progress has more details.
This video is from WJBF, broadcast Jan. 19, 2010.